Persib off to winning start; Arema, Persija play out thriller

Defending champions Persib Bandung got their 2015 Indonesia Super League campaign off to a winning start on Saturday after beating Semen Padang 1-0.

The only goal of the game at the Si Jalak Harupat Stadium arrived in the 18th minute, when Muhammad Ridwan latched onto Ilija Spasojevic’s nod-down and burst into the box before drilling his shot into the far corner.

Although they were unable to add to their tally in the remainder of the game, Persib were ultimately to hold out for the win to ensure they kicked off their title defence in the best way possible.

However, the same could not be said for challengers Arema Cronus as they twice threw away a lead in a thrilling 4-4 draw with Persija Jakarta at the Kanjuruhan Stadium.

It was the hosts who drew first blood after ten minutes when Cristian Gonzales found the far corner with a deft header, only for Persija to equalise in the 18th minute when Bambang Pamungkas sent Kurnia Meiga Hermansyah the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Bambang struck again ten minutes later when he curled a sublime freekick into the back of the net, but it was Arema’s turn to respond on the half-hour mark as Samsul Arif was left unattended inside the area and lashed a powerful volley past Adixi Lenzivio.

A mistake by Adixi then handed Singo Edan a third goal when he came off his line to deal with a freekick but was beaten in the air by Fabiano Beltrame, who proceeded to power a header into the unguarded goal.

But Bambang emerged as the hero for the visitors and he completed his hat-trick to make it 3-3 with 15 minutes remaining, after lining up another freekick and bending a low effort around the wall and into the bottom corner.

Persija then looked to have won it in the 82nd minute after Greg Nwokolo beat the offside trap and poked the ball past the onrushing Kurnia Meiga, before skipping inside Fabiano and firing into the empty net.

Nonetheless, despite being reduced to ten men two minutes later when Johan Alfarizi was shown a straight red, Arema went on to force the draw deep into injury-time after being awarded a penalty of their own, which was emphatically converted by Fabiano into the top corner.

Persipura Jayapura, runners-up in 2014, were able to begin their campaign on a positive note after recording a 2-0 triumph over Persiram Raja Ampat at the Mandala Stadium.

Yohanes Pahabol put them in front three minutes after the half-hour mark when he met Robertino Pugliara’s cut-back with a diving header into the back of the net, before making sure of the win in the 48th minute when he doubled his tally with a low left-footed shot from the edge of the area that beat Deny Marsel.

Over at the Marora Stadium, Perseru Serui were made to work before beating newly-promoted Bali United Pusam 2-1.

Osas Saha was the star of the show for Perseru as he opened the scoring in the 14th minute and then netted the winner with six minutes remaining, after Lerby Eliandry had equalised for the visitors two minutes after the hour mark.

Elsewhere, Pelita Bandung Raya’s David Laly grabbed a 77th-minute equaliser at the Jakabaring Stadium to earn his side a 1-1 draw against Sriwijaya, who had taken the lead on the stroke of halftime courtesy of a strike from new signing Goran Ljubojevic.

Finally, Barito Putera left it late to record a 2-0 victory over Persela Lamongan at the Surajaya Stadium.

It initially looked as though a draw was on the cards as neither side were able to find the breakthrough, but Agi Pratama finally opened the scoring with three minutes to go when he broke free inside the box before clinically placing his shot past Choirul Huda.

And in the 89th minute, Barito went on to make sure of the victory after Talaohu Musafri was somehow left unmarked inside the six-yard box and bundled the ball home after initially being denied by Choirul.

Saturday’s Indonesia Super League Results

Persipura Jayapura 2-0 Persiram Raja Ampat

Perseru Serui 2-1 Bali United Pusam

Persib Bandung 1-0 Semen Padang

Persela Lamongan 0-2 Barito Putera

Arema Cronus 4-4 Persija Jakarta

Sriwijaya 1-1 Pelita Bandung Raya

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