Semifinalists decided in soccer playoffs
JAKARTA (JP): Home favorite Persija Jakarta will meet PSIS Semarang in a semifinal of the fifth Indonesian Soccer League (Ligina) playoffs on April 1 at the Senayan main stadium. The other semifinal pits defending champion Persebaya and Group II runner-up PSMS Medan.
Persija finished atop Group II after a 2-2 tie with Pupuk Kaltim. The result assured PSMS Medan its ticket to the final four.
In the first match from Group I, Semen Padang, despite lacking the raucous support of its fans, still showed enthusiasm to overwhelm ineffectual Petrokimia Putra 6-1.
Semen Padang was shut out of the semifinal, finishing third in the group with six points, a point behind PSIS.
Persija led 2-0 in the first half after substitute Andrian, replacing top defender Nur'alim, chalked up the first goal in the 22nd minute, followed by captain Widodo C. Putro in the 28th minute.
But Pupuk Kaltim, who initially appeared overwhelmed by the occasion in front of about 5,000 spectators, managed to tie with Persija in the second half.
Pupuk Kaltim's striker Martin Tao produced his first goal in the 81st minute. Teammate midfielder Mansyur tied the match six minutes later.
Persija coach Herry Kiswanto said he always urged his defenders and midfielders to play harder even if they were leading in a match.
"When we were leading today, my defenders seemed satisfied with themselves and lost their concentration. Pupuk Kaltim players took advantage of the situation. We should have been playing tactically when leading to beat Pupuk Kaltim," said Herry, a former national player.
He said he would deploy his best players against PSIS Semarang.
Pupuk Kaltim coach Gusnul Yakin was pleased with his team's form. "We were too late in getting going to fight for semifinal contention," he said.
Earlier, Semen Padang striker Choly Misrun opened up his team's path to victory with his goal in the 30th minute after Petrokimia goalie Achmad Nurrosadi failed to catch a pass from defender Erol FX. Iba.
In the second half, Semen Padang pounced. Scorers were striker Kusdianto earned his goal in the 59th and 89th minute, Erol in the 60th minute and midfielder Khoir Rifo in the 76th minute and the 84th minute.
Petrokimia midfielder Zainul Arief earned his team's lone goal in the 77th minute.
Disappointed Petrokimia coach Sanusi Rachman faulted his team's lack of stamina and shabby teamwork.
"I'm very disappointed. They performed below expectations. They didn't show their fighting spirit. We never thought we would finish bottom of the group," he said.
Semen Padang's coach Jenniwardin praised his team for upholding sportsmanship throughout the tournament. (ivy)
Semen Padang 6 Petrokimia Putra 1 Persija Jakarta 2 Pupuk Kaltim 2
Standing (games, wins, draws, losses, points, average points)
Group I: Persebaya 4 3 1 0 9-3 10 PSIS 4 2 1 1 6-6 7 Semen Padang 4 1 3 0 10-5 6 Persikota 4 0 2 2 3-4 2 Petrokimia Putra 4 0 1 3 2-11 1
Group II: Persija 4 2 2 0 6-4 8 PSMS 4 1 3 0 3-2 6 Pelita Bakrie 4 1 2 1 4-2 5 Pupuk Kaltim 4 1 1 2 2-6 4 PSM 4 0 2 2 1-3 2