Southeast Asia Indonesia

Leaders Borneo Seal Spot in Championship Series After Dramatic Win

Liga 1 Indonesia leaders Borneo FC Samarinda have sealed their spot in the post-season championship play-offs after coming from behind with two injury time goals to see off Persebaya Surabaya 2-1 at the Batakan Stadium in Balikpapan in the Pesut Etam‘s last match before the holy month of Ramadan.

Borneo, playing as the home team, took the initiative to attack from the beginning of the first half. Meanwhile, Persebaya mostly waited and relied on quick counterattacks.

In the 14th minute, Persebaya had a chance through Robson Duarte. Unfortunately, Robson’s cross in front of Borneo’s goal found no takers. The ball was cleared by the Pesut Etam defense.

In the 25th minute, Borneo had an opportunity. Getting a through pass from Wiljan Pluim, Felipe Cadenazzi’s shot was blocked by Persebaya goalkeeper Andhika Ramadhani, only resulting in a corner kick.

Four minutes later, it was Adam Alis who got a chance. A long pass from Fajar Fathurrahman reached Alis who penetrated the penalty box. Former Arema FC man Alis’s powerful shot was still saved by Ramadhani.

Persebaya created a chance through a quick counterattack in the 38th minute. Bruno Moreira escaped the offside trap and faced Fajar Fathurrahman. With a quick move, Bruno then released a low shot that was still too easy for Borneo goalie Nadeo Argawinata.

No goals were scored during the first 45 minutes of the match. The score remained 0-0 at halftime.

In the 50th minute, Borneo got two consecutive chances. Terens Puhiri’s shot was saved by Ramadhani, while Felipe Cadenazzi’s header flew over Persebaya’s goal.

The Bajul Ijo retaliated with a superb chance from Paulo Henrique. Receiving a free-kick from Robson, Henrique’s header unfortunately missed the target.

Borneo got a chance from a free-kick of their own in the 62nd minute. Stefano Lilipaly, who stepped up as the executor, released a shot towards the near post. The ball was anticipated well by Ramadhani, who went flying to deny it.

In the end it was Persebaya who managed to break the deadlock in the 85th minute. The goal came from Toni Firmansyah’s volley from outside the penalty box. The ball went into the top left corner of Nadeo’s goal to make it 1-0 for the visitors

However, Borneo managed to equalize through an own goal from Kasim Botan right at the end of normal time.

The six minute injury time saw Paulo being sent off by the referee after the former Persiraja Banda Aceh attacker had received his second yellow card.

Disaster struck Persebaya at the end of the game as Borneo successfully staged their comeback. The winning goal for Borneo was scored by Ikhsan Zikrak, who left Ramadhani completely helpless with his shot.

The three points ensured that Borneo would be advancing into the championship play-offs at the end of the season, where the top four teams of this season’s Liga 1 battle it out in a knockout tournament for the title. Persebaya, on the other hand, remain mid-table as the league enters the holy month of Ramadan where late night games will become the norm.