Persib Bandung are the first time through to the semi-finals of the Indonesia Super League after sealing top spot in Group B with a 2-1 win over Mitra Kukar.
Following a goalless first half in Sunday’s game at the Si Jalak Harupat Stadium, it was Mitra who took the lead in the 66th minute when Herman Dzumafo Epandi burst past Achmad Jufriyanto and into the box before coolly slotting past I Made Wirawan.
However, the visitors were dealt a huge blow three minutes later when they were reduced to ten men, after Zuchrizal Abdul Gamal was shown a second yellow for clattering into the back of Makan Konate.
To make matters worse, the resultant freekick on the edge of the box provided Persib with the perfect opportunity to level the scores, which they duly did so after Firman Utina sent a sublime curling effort into the top corner.
From that point on, there was always going to be only one winner and Maung Bandung went on to claim maximum points in injury-time; Vladimir Vujovic reacting quickest after Supardi Nasir Bujang’s corner was deflected to the far post and diverting the ball over the line at full stretch.
The result was enough to take Persib top of the group on 13 points, and their place in the last four is secured given they can no longer be caught with just one game remaining.
Meanwhile, it is Pelita Bandung Raya who remain in pole position to claim the other qualifying berth after they moved into second spot with a 1-1 draw against Persebaya Surabaya at the Gelora Bung Tomo.
It was the hosts who edged ahead in the 27th minute after Emmanuel Kenmogne opened the scoring, but Agus Indra Kurniawan struck two minutes before the hour mark to earn Pelita a share of the spoils.
Badak Biru head into the final round of matches knowing their fate is in their own hands, although it is not likely that they will have it easy even though they will be facing off against a Persib side that have already progressed.
Meanwhile, any slip-up from Pelita can be pounced on by either Mitra or Persebaya, who are both just a point behind and take on one another at the Aji Imbut Stadium on Thursday.
Sunday’s Indonesia Super League Results
Persib Bandung 2-1 Mitra Kukar
Persebaya Surabaya 1-1 Pelita Bandung Raya