Persija Jakarta march on into AFC Cup knockout round

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Persija Jakarta are through to the AFC Cup ASEAN Zone semi-finals after beating Tampines Rovers 4-2 at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday.

Rezaldi Hehanusa opened the scoring for the Indonesian Liga 1 giants in the 23rd minute, lashing a right-footed shot past Haikal Hasnol following a miscue on his initial effort after being picked out by Riko Simanjuntak.

Nonetheless, it took the hosts just three minutes to pull level when Yasir Hanapi floated a corner to the far post to Jordan Webb, who climbed over his marker to head home.

Persija did manage to reclaim the lead just before halftime when Riko got in behind the opposition defence and cut the ball into the six-yard box, leaving Marko Simic with the simplest of tap-ins.

Riko, who has been one of the stars of the AFC Cup so far, provided another assist in the 51st minute, embarking on a 60-yard run through the middle and leaving Fahrudin Mustafic in his wake before unselfishing laying off to Novri Setiawan, who found the back of the net with an emphatic finish.

The contest was then effectively over in the 72nd minute courtesy of a fine individual effort by Addison Alves; the Brazilian making his way down the left and into the middle of the box before squeezing his shot in at the near post.

Tampines did manage to salvage some pride by reducing the deficit with ten minutes remaining, when Fazrul Nawaz met Khairul Amri’s excellent ball to the back post with a firm header that skimmed off Gunawan Dwi Cahyo and over the line.

But it was Persija who went on to claim a deserving victory to guarantee they finish top of Group H, three points ahead of Johor Darul Ta’zim and Song Lam Nghe An, as they marched on into the last four of the ASEAN Zone in their tournament debut.

TAMPINES ROVERS: Haikal Hasnol, Shameer Aziq, Fahrudin Mustafic (Fazrul Nawaz 64’), Daniel Bennett, Irwan Shah (Zulfadhmi Suzliman 78’), Amirul Adli, Irfan Najeeb (Afiq Yunos 78’), Yasir Hanapi, Ryutaro Megumi, Jordan Webb, Khairul Amri.

PERSIJA JAKARTA: Andritany Ardhiyasa, Ismed Sofyan, Jaimerson (Gunawan Dwi Cahyo 34’), Maman Abdurrahman, Rezaldi Hehanusa, Sandi Darma Sute (Septinus Alua 77’), Ramdani Lestaluhu, Rohit Chand, Riko Simanjuntak, Novri Setiawan, Marko Simic (Addison Alves 63’).