Southeast Asia Indonesia

Persib Heats Up Title Race with Clasico Win

The race for the 2021/22 Liga 1 Indonesia title heats up even more after Persib Bandung emerged out triumphant in the latest edition of the Indonesian El Clasico on Tuesday. Persib’s 2-0 triumph over Persija Jakarta, added with wins for Persebaya Surabaya and Bali United as well as unfavorable results for Arema FC and Bhayangkara FC in Matchweek 28 means that the 5-team title race remains well and truly alive.

Having lost their first game in 23 matches last time out against arch-rivals Persebaya, Arema dropped points yet again as they lost consecutive games for the first time this season. Taking on East Javan rivals in Persik Kediri at Denpasar’s Ngurah Rai Stadium on Sunday, the Singo Edan succumbed to a late wonder-goal from Risna Prahalabenta – ensuring another dent on Eduardo Almeida’s men’s title charge.

Persebaya took full advantage of Arema’s slip-up and moved within one point of their rivals from Malang on Monday after an injury-time winner from Alie Sesay ensured a 2-1 victory for the Bajul Ijo over their Suramadu Derby rivals Madura United at the Ngurah Rai.

Bali United, Bhayangkara, and Persib played their Matchweek 28 games against Persela Lamongan, Persita Tangerang, and Persija respectively on Tuesday, knowing that a positive result would give them the advantage in this very competitive title race.

Relegation-battling Persela gave Bali United a scare at the Kompyang Sujana Stadium after going 1-0 up in the 39th minute thanks to a Rahel Radiansyah strike, however second-half goals from Muhammad Rachmat and Eber Bessa ensured that the defending champions would still be top of the league for at least another matchweek with the 2-1 win.

Bhayangkara, on the other hand, were forced to a 2-2 draw at the Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium by Persita, with the Guardian finishing the match with 10 men thanks to Melvin Platje’s 71st minute dismissal.

The onus was on Persib in the late kick-off at the Dipta to keep the pressure on Bali United, and the Maung Bandung duly delivered so in an impressive showing against their arch-nemesis. A David da Silva brace, with each goal being scored in each half of the game, was enough for Persib to see off a disappointing Macan Kemayoran, who fail to make their chances count.

At the end of Matchweek 28, Bali United still lead the way with 60 points, while Persib are three points behind them in 2nd place. Arema are third with 55 points, equal with 4th placed Bhayangkara but with a better head-to-head record, while Persebaya are fifth with 54 points.

The race continues in Matchweek 29, with Arema and Persib playing this Saturday against strugglers Barito Putera and Persiraja Banda Aceh respectively, while Persebaya will play Persita and Bali United will take on Persija on Sunday. Bhayangkara, on the other hand, will play PSS Sleman on Monday.