Saturday saw an eventful day of Liga 1 Indonesia action, as PS Barito Putera’s 2-0 win over Persik Kediri condemned Persela Lamongan to relegation, while Ricky Kambuaya’s 77th minute equalizer for Persebaya Surabaya in their 1-1 draw with Persib Bandung meant that a win on Monday for Bali United over Madura United would inch the Serdadu Tridatu closer to successfully defending their Liga 1 title.
Strugglers Barito Putera play an already-safe Persik at the Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium in Gianyar, knowing that a win would prolong their own fight for survival while at the same time banishing Persela to next season’s Liga 2.
Starting the match off aggressively, Barito gained the lead in the 7th minute thanks to some excellent teamwork between Bruno Matos and Rafael Silva, leading to the latter to breach Dikri Yusron in the Persik goal with his first-time shot.
Conceding so early in the game stung Persik into life and the Macan Putih tried their best to claw their way back into the game, while Barito are chasing that second goal which would surely kill off the game. With both teams exchanging blow after blow, it was Barito who finally had their say in the 85th minute.
Once again Matos was the creator, with the former Persija Jakarta and Viettel FC man playing the ball towards an unmarked Buyung Ismu, who beat Yusron with his well-placed shot.
Barito’s 2-0 win meant that 17th placed Persela will be unable to bridge the gap with 15th placed Barito. The Laskar Antasari have 32 points to their name, while Persela only have 21 points, ensuring that the Laskar Joko Tingkir would be accompanying last-placed Persiraja Banda Aceh to the Liga 2. Persela will be leaving the Liga 1 after almost two decades there, being one of the only six clubs who had experienced all three incarnations of the Indonesian top-flight without dropping out of it.
Saturday’s late kick-off saw title-chasing Persib taking on rivals Persebaya, who are seeking for points to depose the Maung Bandung off 2nd place.
However, it was the title challengers who drew first blood in the 25th minute, thanks to former Persebaya man David da Silva directing a Frets Butuan shot into Ernando Ali’s goal.
With Persib maintaining their lead into the second half, disaster struck the Maung Bandung in the 69th minute, after Ardi Idrus was sent-off following a second yellow card.
Persebaya immediately seized upon their numerical advantage and drew level in the 77th minute. Substitute Kambuaya went all-out with his pace and blazed his way through the Persib midfield, slicing through it like butter. Scrambling through the Persib defense, Kambuaya unleashed a low drive that pierced its way into I Made Wirawan’s goal for the Bajul Ijo‘s equalizer.
No further goals were scored and the match ended 1-1.
The draw means that 2nd placed Persib are two points off leaders Bali United, however the gap would increase to five points if Bali United win their Matchweek 32 game against Madura United on Monday. Should Persib slip up even more in their last two matches, then Bali United would effectively seal the Liga 1 title as early as Matchweek 33.
Saturday’s other Liga 1 match saw a Ciro hat-trick earning Persikabo 1973 a thumping 5-0 win over already-relegated Persiraja.