After 2nd placed Persib Bandung had thrown away a 1-0 lead to draw 1-1 with Persebaya Surabaya on Saturday, the onus was on Liga 1 Indonesia leaders Bali United to extend their lead even further with a win over Madura United on Monday – something that the Serdadu Tridadu duly did with a 2-0 win.
Knowing that a win against Madura United would effectively line the Liga 1 trophy within their sights, defending league champions Bali United wasted no time in taking up the Laskar Sapeh Kerrab‘s challenge. The two teams traded blows on the Kompyang Sujana Stadium pitch, with the likes of Renan Silva providing the danger for Madura United while Stefano Lilipaly, Jean Befolo Mbarga, and Eber Bessa took turns in challenging Hong Jeong-nam in the Madura United goal.
Predictably, it was Bali United who showed their class as champions-to-be and took the lead in the 23rd minute. The Serdadu Tridatu were given a free-kick that was executed by Lilipaly, before the ball was headed into Jeong-nam’s goal by Ilija Spasojevic.
Madura United then found themselves in the back-foot as Bali United intensified their attacks, with both Bessa and Lilipaly supplying the ball forward for Stefano Cugurra Teco’s men. Ricky Fajrin and Sidik Saimima came close for Bali United, before Renan attempted to rifle home the equalizer for Madura United, only for the Brazilian to be thwarted by Nadeo Argawinata in the Bali United goal.
The second half saw more of the same with Bali United once again bombarding the Madura United defense, before the win was sealed in the 50th minute. Having received a Brwa Nouri cross, Bessa decided to chip the ball over Jeong-nam’s head, earning Bali United their second goal of the game.
The Serdadu Tridatu were then given a scare in the 67th minute after they conceded a penalty following Willian Pacheco’s foul on Bayu Gatra within the box, however Nadeo did excellently to deny Beto Goncalves’ spot-kick.
The 2-0 win meant that Bali United only needed a draw in their Matchweek 33 game against Persebaya Surabaya on Friday to seal back-to-back Liga 1 titles. Even if Bali United lose against Persebaya and Persib win their Matchweek 33 game against Persik Kediri at the same day, the Serdadu Tridatu will remain as league leaders by virtue of their superior head-to-head record over the Maung Bandung.