High-flying RANS Nusantara FC stunned hosts Persija Jakarta 2-1 in Sunday’s Liga 1 Indonesia match at the Patriot Candrabhaga Stadium in Bekasi, however the match was soured by a controversial decision made by the referee, which was a “ghost goal” from Witan Sulaeman that should’ve drawn the Macan Kemayoran level.
Despite being backed by their Jakmania faithful, Thomas Doll’s Persija side were stunned by RANS Nusantara’s aggressive play, which saw them go from bottom-of-the-league last season to challenging for honors this time out.
Rookie goalkeeper Cahya Supriadi, deputizing for usual goalie Andritany Ardhiyasa, was overwhelmed by the likes of Andi Irfan and Evandro Brandao, before his defenses were breached in the 10th minute after the referee had awarded RANS Nusantara a penalty, which was superbly taken by Angolan striker Evandro.
Persija pushed forward in search of an equalizer, with Marko Simic, Maciej Gajos, Ryo Matsumura and Riko Simanjuntak bombarding Hilman Syah’s goal, however none of them could find a breakthrough. The Macan Kemayoran‘s efforts for an equalizer were instead rewarded with yellow cards for both Riko and Rizky Ridho.
Despite all of Persija’s might, the Macan Kemayoran instead went 2-0 down in the 56th minute, with Supriadi unable to stop Angelo Meneses’ shot from going all the way into his goal.
Only two minutes later, Firza Andika managed to deceive the RANS Nusantara defense, allowing Muhammad Ferrari to pull one back for Persija.
With the deficit now slashed, Persija assumed full control of the proceedings as they try to draw things level. However, disaster struck in the 75th minute after Rizky received his second yellow card, forcing Persija to spend the last 15 minutes of the match with just 10 men.
Controversy then broke out in the second minute of injury time. A Gajos free-kick was headed by Witan into Hilman’s goal, with the ball striking the post as it went over the line before going back into the field of play. The Persija players felt that a goal should be awarded to them, but the referee had failed to notice the commotion and with the absence of VAR, Witan’s efforts was all for naught.