The cast of the 2021 Menpora Cup semifinal has been completed after Persib Bandung and PS Sleman had booked their respective tickets to the final four with wins in their respective quarterfinal ties. Persib survived a late fightback from Persebaya Surabaya to win 3-2 in their quarterfinal match on Sunday at the Maguwoharjo Stadium, before PSS survived a penalty shootout against Bali United at the Si Jalak Harupat Stadium to book their own spot in the semifinal in Monday’s quarterfinal action.
Persib started their match against Persebaya in scintillating fashion, going 1-0 up after just 40 seconds thanks to Ezra Walian’s blistering finish that went past Persebaya goalie Satria Tama. Wander Luiz then made it 2-0 after 6 minutes thanks to an accurate assist from Frets Butuan and despite losing Ezra to injury in the 14th minute, the Maung Bandung managed to assume cruise control of the proceedings thanks to Nick Kuipers’ 38th minute header.
Persebaya were even forced to play with 10 men after goalkeeper Satria was sent off for handling Wander Luiz’s ball outside of his area. This prompted Persebaya head coach Aji Santoso to sacrifice Muhammad Hidayat in favor of backup goalkeeper Ernando Ali.
Despite this massive setback Persebaya emerged out of the dressing room as a completely different beast and they pressed Persib after the referee started the second stanza. The Bajul Ijo managed to pull one back in the 63rd minute through Arif Satria, who headed an Alwi Slamat free-kick past Persib goalkeeper Teja Paku Alam.
Shortly afterwards Persib were forced to play with 10 men as well after Wander Luiz was sent packing by the referee, following a shove done by the Brazilian on a Persebaya player during a set-piece situation.
With both sides playing with a man down, Persebaya kept on pressing and pressing in hopes of keeping their chances in the game alive. Mochammad Supriadi threatened Teja a number of times with his shots, before once again Alwi played a vital role in scoring Persebaya’s second of the game. Deep into injury time, Persebaya were awarded an indirect free-kick which Alwi took, with the ball being headed into Teja’s goal by Mokhamad Syarifuddin. However, the goal came too late as Persebaya failed to score that all-important equalizer to force penalties, allowing Persib to march into the semifinal with the 3-2 victory.
Meanwhile on Monday, both PSS and Bali United played out a goalless stalemate at the Si Jalak Harupat after 90 minutes, forcing the match to be settled on penalties. Bali United head coach Stefano Cugurra Teco withdrew his main goalkeeper Wawan Hendrawan in favor of Samuel Reimas in hopes that the goalie could continue his good record on penalty kicks in the shootout, as the Papua-born shot stopper had impressed Teco in penalty drills during the pre-match training sessions. The move backfired horribly on Bali United’s part as Samuel conceded all four of PSS’ penalties, whilst his counterpart Ega Rizky was able to save shots from Dias Angga Putra and Willian Pacheco, allowing PSS to secure the final semifinal ticket at the Serdadu Tridatu‘s expense.
The 2021 Menpora Cup semifinal will be played across two legs, with the first leg on April 15th-16th at the Maguwoharjo Stadium and the second leg on April 18th-19th at the Manahan Stadium. Persija Jakarta and PSM Makassar will play the first semifinal, while Persib and PSS face-off in the second one.