Southeast Asia Indonesia

Bali United Thrash PSIS to End First Leg with a Bang

Bali United wrapped up the first half of their 2022/23 Liga 1 Indonesia season with an emphatic result as they demolished PSIS Semarang 3-0 at the Manahan Stadium in Solo on Thursday evening.

Following the Kanjuruhan Tragedy in early October, this season’s Liga 1 campaign went on a 2-month hiatus before it was decided that the remainder of the season’s first half will be played in centralized locations behind closed doors, just like matches played during the COVID-19 pandemic last season. Stadiums in Central Java and the Special Region of Yogyakarta were selected to held these matches, which include PSIS’ Jatidiri Stadium, Persis Solo’s Manahan Stadium, PSS Sleman’s Maguwoharjo Stadium, and Persiba Bantul’s Sultan Agung Stadium.

Having lost their previous two matches to Borneo FC and PSS, defending champions Bali United were determined to end the first half of their season with a win to retain their position in the league’s title race.

Standing between the Serdadu Tridatu and victory were PSIS, who despite spending heavily in pre-season were awfully inconsistent and found themselves firmly planted in the league’s mid-table.

Almost immediately after the referee blew for kick-off Bali United went flying off the blocks, catching PSIS off-guard with their relentless aggression.

Bali United’s constant pressure paid off in the 12th minute after M. Rahmat found a breakthrough, latching onto a Jean Befolo Mbarga pass to score the opening goal past PSIS goalie Wahyu Tri Nugroho.

Former Persiba Bantul goalkeeper Nugroho found himself being forced to pick the ball out of his net for a second time in the 20th minute after former PSM Makassar player Rahmat completed his brace.

With a healthy lead now theirs, Bali United did not relent with their pressure at all in the second half and sealed the three points in the 61st minute, with Mbarga lapping up a long ball from Brwa Nouri before beating Nugroho with a powerful shot.

The win meant that Bali United return to the league’s summit for the time being as title rivals Borneo, PSM, and Madura United were yet to play their final matches of the season’s first half. PSIS, on the other hand, remain in 10th place.