There’s still all to play for in the first semifinal of the 2021 Menpora Cup after PSM Makassar and Persija Jakarta played out a goalless stalemate in Thursday’s first leg at the Maguwoharjo Stadium. Neither team could find the breakthrough needed to establish an advantage coming into the second leg and despite Persija finishing the match with 10 men, PSM were unable to seize upon the numerical advantage.
Thursday’s match at the Maguwoharjo will mostly be remembered for the numerous fouls committed by both teams rather than the brand of football displayed by the duo, as referee Hamim Tohari brandished 7 yellow cards for PSM, 5 yellow cards for Persija, and a red card for the Macan Kemayoran.
Persija’s Osvaldo Haay elicited a save from PSM custodian Hilman Syah in the 19th minute to carve out the first meaningful chance of the match, with Osvaldo’s thunderbolt being cancelled out by an alert Hilman’s gloves. PSM retaliated by creating a chance of their own ten minutes later, with Saldi Amiruddin unleashing a powerful drive that was deflected away by Persija goalkeeper Andritany Ardhiyasa.
Andritany then pulled off an impressive double save in the 36th minute to deny PSM their opening goal following a skirmish within the Persija penalty area that happened after a PSM corner, before Hilman spared the blushes of the PSM defense in the 41st minute after they had allowed an Otavio Dutra through ball to reach Osvaldo, whose close-ranged shot was thankfully collected safely by Hilman.
Hilman was then called upon a couple of times by PSM in the second half – first in the 61st minute to collect a Marko Simic attempt that was blocked by Zulkifli Syukur before the young shot-stopper smothered a Novri Setiawan cross before Riko Simanjuntak could get to the ball first in the 69th minute.
Two minutes later Saldi once again forced Andritany into making a save, before in the 85th minute Hamim was forced to send Persija’s Marco Motta off the pitch following a second yellow card for the Italian defender.
In the end neither team were able to land that decisive goal and both PSM and Persija head to April 18th’s second leg at the Manahan Stadium with the tie still evenly poised.
The second semifinal of the 2021 Menpora Cup between Persib Bandung and PS Sleman will have its first leg on Friday at the Maguwoharjo, the first time in the competition that a team is set to play at their own stadium as the Maguwoharjo is PSS’ home ground.