PSIS Semarang managed to confirm qualification into the 2021 Menpora Cup quarterfinals as Group A winners after coming out on top of an absolute thriller of a match on Tuesday. Taking on Arema FC at the Manahan Stadium in Matchweek 3, the Mahesa Jenar managed to land a fatal 90th minute blow to the Singo Edan‘s qualification aspirations as they won 3-2 over their opponents.
With both Barito Putera and Persikabo 1973 playing out a 2-2 draw in the early kick-off – a result that both confirmed qualification to the quarterfinals for Barito and elimination for Persikabo – Arema knew that they must win against PSIS with a significant margin should they wish to accompany the Laskar Antasari to the knockouts. With that in mind the Singo Edan went straight for the offensive once the referee blew for kick-off and within 9 minutes of the match Arema were already 1-0 up.
Dedik Setiawan managed to collect the ball in a dangerous area before barging his way into the PSIS defense through the right flank. The 26-year old attacker then attempted a shot from an acute angle, with the ball being deflected into Jandia Eka Putra’s goal by teammate Fredyan Wahyu.
Immediately Arema’s goal sent PSIS into high alert and the Mahesa Jenar immediately bombarded the Arema defense in hope for an equalizer. In the 35th minute, Arema goalkeeper Utam Rusdiana was kept on his toes after PSIS midfielder Finky Pasamba attempted a screamer from some distance that went wide from its target.
The Mahesa Jenar eventually got their equalizer deep into stoppage-time, after a Fandi Eko Utomo free-kick managed to create a skirmish within the Arema penalty area. As players from both sides wrestle for the ball, Komarudin took advantage of the situation and poked the ball past Utam, ensuring that the first half would end in a 1-1 draw.
Another PSIS free-kick, this time in the 62nd minute, resulted in the Semarang-based side turning the tide of the match in their favor. Pratama Arhan managed to curl in his free-kick from a tight angle into the Arema goal, leaving a stunned Utam beaten for the second time in this match.
Five minutes later Arema managed to drew level after the Singo Edan were awarded a penalty, following a foul on Kushedya Hari Yudo by Rio Saputro in the PSIS penalty box. Dedik was tasked in dispatching the penalty and he easily made short work of his assignment, completing his brace with a well-taken shot that sent Jandia the wrong way.
With the scoreline now tied, Arema pushed men forward as they chased for more goals to not only regain their lead in the match but also to improve their goal difference. However as they chased for the winner, Arema were dealt a sucker punch in the 90th minute by PSIS, who came up with a winning goal of their own. A lax Arema defense allowed Riyan Ardiansyah far too much space within their penalty area, allowing the PSIS defender to lap up a pass from Arhan before stabbing home the winning goal for PSIS past Utam.
The three points ensured that PSIS will be advancing out of Group A as group winners, with Barito accompanying them as runners-up. Persikabo occupy 3rd place while Arema propped up the group, the two teams being eliminated from the Menpora Cup as a result.
Matchweek 3 continues on Wednesday with the final set of matches from Group B at the Kanjuruhan Stadium, with already eliminated Borneo FC taking on PSM Makassar in the early kick-off before the late match sees Persija Jakarta taking on Bhayangkara Solo FC.