Persija Jakarta striker Marko Simic has dedicated the Indonesia club’s 3-1 win over Singapore Premier League side Home United FC in the AFC Champions League 2019 qualifiers to former teammate Rizky Darmawan.
The Indonesian champions had defeated the Protectors 3-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Kallang on Tuesday to secure a spot in the second preliminary round of the ACL qualifiers where they will face A-League side Newcastle Jets.
Croatian striker Simic scored the Kemayoran Tigers’ third goal in their thrashing of the Singapore side and dedicated the win to former Persija goalkeeper Rizky Darmawan who also incidentally celebrated his birthday on Tuesday.
Simic said that he wanted to cheer up his former teammate and make him happy with the win over Home United. The reason? Rizky was guardian the goal for Persija when Home United scored six times against him over two legs in the AFC Cup zonal finals last season.
“Everyone knows that Rizky experienced it. Hopefully with [Tuesday’s] victory, he will be cheerful again. Especially as it is his birthday,” Simic recalled the two clubs’ meeting last year.
Perisja had scored two away goals in a 3-2 defeat against Home United in Singapore in the first leg of the semifinal last season. The Indonesians needed only a 1-0 win to progress to the zonal final, however the Protectors registered a 3-1 win to progress with a comfortable 6-3 victory!
The 24-year-old goalkeeper left the club this January after seeing Persija win their first Indonesia Liga 1 title in 17 years. He has been without a club since.
“Hopefully [Rizky] will soon get a good club. He is a young goalkeeper who has good potential,” Simic said.
“It feels amazing to score goals, but it’s all thanks to the hardworking as a team,” said the 31-year-old striker.
Persija will travel to Australia to face Newcastle Jets in the second preliminary round of the AFC Champions League 2019 on February 12.