Persipura reclaim top spot as Persib climb into top five

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Persipura Jayapura moved back on top of Indonesia’s Liga 1 on Saturday after recording a 2-1 triumph over Mitra Kukar.

Ian Kabes opened the scoring for Mutiara Hitam at the Mandala Stadium in the 12th minute, when his freekick from the left wing sailed past a sea of players and found its way into the back of the net.

Seven minutes later, it was 2-0 with Marcel Sacramento notching his fourth goal of the campaign by heading home a corner.

Mitra managed to pull one back in the 90th minute when Septian David Maulana raced through to beat Dede Sulaiman one-on-one, although it proved to be a mere consolation for his team.

With the win, Persipura reclaimed top spot after being overtaken on Friday as Persija Jakarta claimed a 4-1 victory over PSIS Semarang.

Meanwhile, Persib Bandung got back to winning ways – tentatively climbing into fifth place in the process – as they beat Borneo 3-1 at the Gelora Bandung Lautan Api.

Ezechiel N’Douassel fired the hosts ahead after nine minutes with a close-range header, before doubling his tally in the 68th minute as he once again nodded past Muhammad Ridho inside the six-yard box.

Although Titus Bonai managed to reduce the deficit for Borneo in the 77th minute, Jonathan Bauman struck a minute later to seal maximum points for Persib.

Fallen giants Arema’s miserable start to 2018 continued as they lost 3-2 to Madura United, leaving them rooted to the bottom of the table with just two points from their opening five matches.

And, finally, Aleksandar Rakic’s first-half hat-trick was not enough to save PS TIRA as they were defeated 4-3 by PSM Makassar, who had goals from Ferdinand Sinaga, Rizky Pellu, Guy Junior and Abdul Rahman Sulaiman to thank for their third win of the campaign.

Photo credit: Liga Indonesia