Southeast Asia Indonesia

Youthful Persija Saw Off PSIS to Set Selangor Final

A Persija Jakarta side stacked with youth managed to pass the challenge of PSIS Semarang in Thursday’s RCTI Premium Sports International Tournament semifinal at the Jakarta International Stadium, with a single Akbar Arjunsyah goal enough to seal the Macan Kemayoran‘s 1-0 win over the Mahesa Jenar.

With most of their stars absent due to either international duty or being rested after a long Liga 1 Indonesia season, Persija came into the RCTI Premium Sports International Tournament with a squad mostly filled with youngsters. But despite that, they still have experience in the form of first-teamers Cahya Supriyadi, Maman Abdulrahman, Tony Sucipto, Akbar, and Aji Kusuma.

PSIS also came into the tournament mostly relying on youth, but they also had several foreign players turning out for them on a trial basis, such as former Persita Tangerang and Persiraja Banda Aceh defender Adam Mitter, former PSS Sleman, Persipura Jayapura, Sri Pahang FC, and Sriwijaya FC striker Yehven Bokhashvili, and Finnish-Iranian attacking midfielder Reza Heidari.

With the support of their faithful Jakmania behind them, it was Persija who took the initiative since kick-off, with the kids repeatedly giving headaches to the PSIS defenders. Occasionally PSIS took the opportunity to counter, but Maman’s experience at the back helped Persija’s defense to stand strong.

In the end the Macan Kemayoran‘s perseverance paid off as Akbar managed to find the back of the net in the 22nd minute with a powerful header.

The two teams then exchanged blow after blow throughout the remainder of the match, though no further goals were scored as Persija held onto their slim lead.

There were tears in full-time as both Maman and Tony greeted the Jakmania for the final time, with the two veteran players set to leave Persija after the match. 43-year old defender Maman had initially hinted that he would retire after this season, but both him and 38-year old defender Tony has went on to state that they will continue playing even after leaving Persija, possibly for teams in the lower leagues.

Persija will take on Selangor FC in June 2nd’s final, after PSIS had taken on Sabah FC in the third place play-off on the same day.