Semen Padang close gap; Persija, Persib share spoils

Semen Padang moved five points behind Western zone leaders Arema Cronus in the Indonesia Super League on Sunday after beating Pelita Bandung Raya 2-1.

Kabau Sirah took the lead at the Haji Agus Salim Stadium after seven minutes when Esteban Gabriel Vizcarra opened the scoring, before Nur Iskandar made it 2-0 in the 26th minute.

Pelita managed to pull one back 12 minutes from time when Bambang Pamungkas found the back of the net but it proved to be a mere consolation, as the hosts held out for the win.

The result was enough to see Semen Padang reduce the gap between them and Arema – who cruised to a 4-1 win over Barito Putera on Saturday – to five points, although the leaders have a game in hand.

In Sunday’s early kickoff, Persija Jakarta and Persib Bandung both slipped up in their bid to close in at the top after playing out a 0-0 draw at the Gelora Bung Karno.

In what turned out to be an entertaining clash played in front of over 69,000 fans, it was Persija who had the best chance of the first half when Boakay Eddie Foday broke free after racing onto Ramdani Lestaluhu’s incisive through-pass, but I Made Wirawan did well to race off his line and dive bravely at the Liberian’s feet to deny him in a one-on-one situation.

Foday had another excellent chance in the 76th minute after Ismed Sofyan found space down the right and played a perfectly-weighted cross into his path, only for him to lash a volley high and wide.

Shortly after, the 28-year-old was again left wondering how he had failed to put the hosts ahead when he met another excellent delivery from Ismed with a firm header, only to see it come back off the bar.

And in injury-time, it looked as though Persib would go on to snatch the win when Muhammad Ridwan was picked out unmarked inside the area but Andritany Ardhiyasa made a fine reflex save to deny him from point-blank range, earning his side a share of the spoils in the process.

The stalemate means both sides remain comfortably inside the top four, although they are now nine points behind Arema.

Sunday’s Indonesia Super League Results

Western

Persija Jakarta 0-0 Persib Bandung

Semen Padang 2-1 Pelita Bandung Raya

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