Matchweek 4 of the 2021 Menpora Cup saw Persik Kediri shocking Madura United with a 2-1 win at the Maguwoharjo Stadium on Saturday, a result that placed the Laskar Sapeh Kerrab on the brink of elimination. With Persebaya Surabaya securing a ticket to the quarterfinal thanks to a 0-0 draw with Persela Lamongan on Matchweek 4’s late kick-off, Persik’s result meant that the race for the last quarterfinal ticket is well and truly open.
The first half saw both Persik and Madura United exchanging blow after blow, however neither of them could get the upper-hand over the other. The Macan Putih almost drew first blood in the 11th minute, after Yusuf Meliana had sent an excellent ball to Septian Satria Bagaskara, only for the striker to miss his mark completely.
Madura United then retaliated by engineering a chance of their own in the 22nd minute, thanks to some excellent teamwork between Bruno Lopes and Beto Goncalves. Unfortunately for Madura United, the latter was unable to finish things off even though he had positioned himself in a favorable position.
The Laskar Sapeh Kerrab thought that they had opened the scoring in the first minute of stoppage time, after Bruno had taken advantage of a brilliant ball from Hugo Gomes to force Persik goalkeeper Dian Agus Prasetyo into picking the ball from his goal. However, the referee chalked the goal off as Bruno was offside when he fired home past Dian Agus, despite replays suggesting otherwise.
Despite this setback Madura United managed to get themselves the goal that they were looking for in the 50th minute, after Rahmad Darmawan’s men were awarded a penalty following Bayu Otto’s foul on a Madura United player within the area. Beto was tasked with taking the spot kick and the naturalized striker managed to send Dian Agus the wrong way to give Madura United the lead.
With the advantage now theirs, Madura United should’ve killed the game off in the 60th minute, after Hugo managed to find Bayu Gatra, who in turn sent the ball from the left flank towards Slamet Nurcahyono. Unfortunately for the Laskar Sapeh Kerrab Dian Agus was alert and he managed to make the save.
The inability to convert that chance would soon haunt Madura United as they conceded a penalty in the 70th minute, this time after Marckho Meraudje had caught Faris Aditama illegally within the Madura United penalty area. Persik captain Andri Ibo coolly dispatched his penalty past Madura United goalkeeper Muhammad Ridwan to restore parity.
Eight minutes later Persik managed to stun Madura United as they took the lead through Antony Nugroho. Former Arema FC man Antony danced his way into the Madura United defense before firing a cannonball from within the penalty area that left Ridwan completely beaten.
No further goals were scored and Persik managed to secure themselves all three points with the 2-1 win, with the victory keeping the Macan Putih well and truly alive in the Menpora Cup.
Despite the loss, Madura United remain in 2nd place of Group C, however they have played all four of their matches. The Laskar Sapeh Kerrab must hope that Persik, Persela, and PS Sleman would do them a favor on Matchweek 5 by generating results that would benefit them. Persik would take on Persela at the Maguwoharjo on April 7th while PSS would face-off against already-qualified Persebaya on the same date at the same venue. Madura United’s 2-1 win over PSS on Matchweek 1 meant that they have the head-to-head advantage over their 3rd placed opponents, however anything could happen on the football pitch that could see Madura United being eliminated from the Menpora Cup without kicking the ball at all.