Southeast Asia Indonesia

Persija, Persebaya Play Out Classic Underneath the Dipta Lights

Six goals, an early start, a red card, and late drama – it’s safe to say that Monday’s Liga 1 Indonesia clash between Persija Jakarta and Persebaya Surabaya was a Valentine’s Day outing to remember for fans of both teams and neutrals alike.

With the Liga 1 entering it’s 25th matchweek, Persija and Persebaya face-off against each other at the Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium in Gianyar on Monday. With both sides having been affected by COVID outbreaks that had been plaguing the league throughout the past few weeks, both the Macan Kemayoran and the Bajul Ijo were fortunate enough to have their squads restored to full strength for this showdown.

A potent combination of COVID, injuries, and national team call-ups had seen Persebaya’s title charge falter in the past few matches, while underneath caretaker head coach Sudirman, Persija are still trying to find their footing in order to claw their way up the Liga 1 table. But the Macan Kemayoran are up against it as they’re facing off against a team that they have yet to beat since 2018.

With both teams exploding to life after kick-off, it was Persija who drew first blood in the 2nd minute. Osvaldo Haay and Syahrian Abimanyu combined nicely for the latter to swing a shot at the Persebaya goal, which was thwarted almost immediately by Bajul Ijo defender Arif Satria. Satria’s clearance didn’t go far though, as the ball landed on the feet of Marko Simic who rifled in a powerful shot that opened the scoring.

Stung by conceding the opening goal, Persebaya went gung ho and assaulted the Persija defense relentlessly. Andritany Ardhiyasa in the Persija goal worked hard to ensure that his team would cling onto their fragile lead, however, his defenses were breached in the 14th minute.

The magnificently named Muhammad Ferrari fouled Taisei Marukawa within the Persija box, leaving the referee no choice but to award Persebaya a penalty. Marukawa himself stepped up to the plate and rifled in his spot-kick, which was blocked slightly by Andritany but found its way into the Persija goal nonetheless.

It was end-to-end action from both sides after that, with the likes of Ricky Kambuaya and Reva Adi Utama testing Andritany with their shots while Haay’s weak shot was easily saved by Andhika Ramadhani in the Persebaya goal.

An exciting first half ends 1-1, however, the second half has even more action-packed into it.

Kambuaya managed to take advantage of an excellent Marukawa ball to give Persebaya the lead in the 48th minute before the two sides traded blow after blow once again.

Persebaya were trying their hardest to kill the game off, with Andritany having to save a powerful shot from Arsenio Valpoort, while his counterpart Andhika managed to do well to deny Makan Konate from scoring Persija’s equalizer only moments earlier.

Disaster struck Persija in the 65th minute after Ryuji Utomo, fresh off a loan spell at Liga Super Malaysia dark horses Penang FC, saw a straight red card after a last-man foul on Marselino Ferdinan.

Persebaya seized advantage of Persija’s short-handedness, however, it took the Bajul Ijo until the 83rd minute to completely capitalize on their extra man, with excellent teamwork between Marukawa and Ferdinan allowing veteran striker Samsul Arif to be unleashed, with the journeyman blasting home Persebaya’s third past Andritany.

However, Persija refused to throw the towel just yet and they reduced the deficit by one goal in the 86th minute, with Konate seizing upon a loose ball after a corner and putting one past his former team.

Further drama then ensued in the dying minutes of the match after Reva fouled Konate in the Persebaya box, allowing Persija to receive a penalty of their own. With Reva in tears over his blunder, he and his teammates could only watch as Konate dispatched the penalty confidently to save Persija from the jaws of defeat – ensuring that the match would end in a 3-3 stalemate.

The solitary point meant that Persebaya remain 5th in the Liga 1 table with 45 points, four points off Arema FC in 1st. Persija, on the other hand, are 7th with 34 points.