Persib Bandung were made to work hard for their 2021 Menpora Cup final ticket as they drew 1-1 with PS Sleman in Monday’s semifinal second leg at the Manahan Stadium. The draw meant that Persib managed to edge out PSS 3-2 on aggregate, thus setting up a delicious two-legged tie with arch rivals Persija Jakarta in the final – the first Indonesian El Clasico cup final since the 1994 Siliwangi Cup.
Coming into Monday’s second leg with a slender 2-1 advantage, Persib stepped into the Manahan pitch with one thing in mind – defending their lead or if they could extend it even further to ensure themselves a spot in the Menpora Cup final. And the Maung Bandung‘s cause was helped significantly by their aggressive approach to the game, forcing the Super Elja to play cautiously as Persib threatened Ega Rizky’s goal from the get-go through Frets Butuan and Ezra Walian.
PSS were only able to carve out their first meaningful chance of the second leg in the 23rd minute, after Irfan Jaya launched a powerful volley that skyrocketed above I Made Wirawan’s goal.
Both teams had to lose key players to injury during the first half – Persib’s Dedi Kusnandar was taken off shortly after the water break to be replaced by Farshad Noor, while PSS goalie Ega was replaced by Miswar Saputra just before half-time.
Former Persebaya Surabaya attacker Irfan tested veteran goalie Wirawan twice during the second half, before Frets forced a heroic save from Miswar just before the hour-mark.
PSS were then forced to play with 10 men after Fabiano Beltrame’s second yellow card in the 64th minute, allowing Persib to once again dominate proceedings and intensify the pressure on the Super Elja. However, despite this setback, it was PSS who took the lead first in the 73rd minute. Saddam Gaffar and Samsul Arifin, who had combined together to score PSS’ only goal in the first leg, once again became a nightmare for Wirawan in the Persib goal, with Samsul crossing the ball brilliantly to Saddam who hammered a devastating volley home past Wirawan. 1-0 PSS and 3-3 on aggregate and since the Menpora Cup did not implement an away goals rule, this would be enough for the Super Elja to force penalties.
Former Ajax Amsterdam youngster Ezra had other things to say though and in the 84th minute the striker managed to level things up for Persib, seizing a Frets cross with a confident header that Miswar was unable to stop. 1-1 on the night and 3-2 in Persib’s favor on aggregate.
No further goals were scored and Persib managed to land themselves an exciting final clash with archenemies Persija, which will be played across two legs on April 22nd at the Maguwoharjo Stadium and on April 25th at the Manahan Stadium. This will be the two rivals’ first cup final against one another since the 1994 Siliwangi Cup final, which saw Persib edge out Persija on penalties to clinch the friendly tournament’s trophy at the Siliwangi Stadium in Bandung.
PSS, on the other hand, will play a single-legged tie with PSM Makassar at the Manahan on April 24th to decide who will finish third in the 2021 Menpora Cup.