Having beaten Barito Putera on Liga 1’s season opener, Persib continues its quest on Saturday night, 11 September, when it travels to Wibawa Mukti Stadium in Bekasi, West Java, to face Persita Tangerang.
The West Java giant will seek another win to cement its position in the Liga 1 table. But standing in front of them is an equally motivated team that won its first game against Persipura Jayapura last week.
Persib might be unbeaten against the Tangerang side for over a decade, but it is a different story now that the Indonesian league has just returned after a 500-day hiatus. All teams are back to square one to find their best rhythms.
A convincing win would increase the team’s confidence and put it as a serious contender this season. Before the match kicks off at 8:45 p.m. local time, let’s find out what to expect from the game.
The return of Geoffrey Castillion
Persib has been blessed with various striking options, but this was not something fans could see in the first match as Geoffrey Castillion had a health issue, forcing him to stay in Bandung when the team played its first game in Tangerang.
Before the 2020 season was discontinued, the Dutch forward managed to score two goals in three games. As a global pandemic forced the Indonesian government to cease any live sports event, he was subsequently loaned out to Como 1907 in Italy .
The former Ajax goal-getter is confirmed to be a part of the team heading for the second game, and with his presence, it’s only fair to expect more striking prowess upfront.
A more dynamic midfield
If the first game has shown us anything, it’s that we have two promising midfielders in Marc Klok and Mohammed Rashid. Better news yet, there is a large room for improvement.
The two are both newcomers, and if they managed to provide creativity and stability to the team after training together for just a short period, imagine what they could offer in the next few months.
Rashid had a glimpse of the football culture here as he was a part of the Palestinian National Team that defeated Indonesia back in the 2018 Asian Games.
Meanwhile, Klok is no stranger, having previously played for PSM and Persija. That experience, coupled with the-big name he has created for himself in the country, has paved the way to earn Indonesian citizenship and national call-up.
Klok also has the luxury of having many Dutch-speaking footballers in the team, which could obviously help him blend smoother with the team.
Undoubtedly, Persib has some of the most talented wingers in the country when it comes individual capabilities. However, that doesn’t always translate into more goals scored.
In many cases, the attacking efforts went to waste when wingers were involved. This was mainly because of the poor crosses randomly delivered into the penalty area even when no team mate was there to finish the job.
That being said, the speed, pace, and dribble the likes of Febri Hariyadi, Frets Butuan and Erwin Ramdani posses can be hugely beneficial to create more spaces for their peers to exploit.
Such a problem is pervasive in Indonesia, but if the team wants to step up and look beyond tomorrow, Robert Alberts needs to address this immediately.