Persib missed a huge chance to continue a winning streak as it came home with a single point against 10-man Bali United on Saturday, 18 September.
In a match played inside the Indomilk Arena in Tangerang, the stake couldn’t be higher for Persib, who could have taken this opportunity to cement its status as a frontrunner to win the league.
A victory over the reigning champion would not only overtake the opponent’s position in the table, but also a chance to build the mental strength needed to reach the ultimate goal in a highly stacked competition where a mere two points could make a huge difference.
Bali’s Ilija Spasojevic opened the score six minutes into game with a well-placed strike from inside the area following a set-piece. Ten minutes later, Wander Luiz nearly leveled the score with a header, but it hit the post.
Persib earned an added motivation when Leonard Tupamahu was shown a red card for comitting a last-man foul to stop Febri Hariyadi from having a one-on-one with the keeper. However, its highly anticipated equalizer came six minutes later when a beautiful through pass from Marc Klok finds overlapping Febri who then sends the ball back to Beckham Putra to finish from inside the box.
One minute into the second half, 20-year-old Beckham, who started for the first time this season, doubles his tally following a bleak error in Bali’s defense.
He was left unmarked to score a tap in after Bali’s goalkeeper failed to maintain posession in his own area. Beckham’s brace came just a day after it was announced that he didn’t get a call up from the national team.
However, things moved at a much slower pace after that, and it’s clear that Persib couldn’t take the advantage of the situation. The majority of the attacks didn’t connect despite Bali playing with a man less.
And things got even messier when out of nowhere Bali’s Yabes Roni scored an equalizer with a flicked header that stunned the keeper.
Like a toddler playing with their toy for the first time, Persib looked frustrated to slice Bali’s defense open. Their repeated attempts to deliver the ball to enter the final third faced a stumbling block, forcing Robert Alberts to try applying a different trick by entering new, fresher names in Geofrey Castillion, Frets Butuan, and Esteban Vizcarra.
However, nothing changed until the final whistle was blown.
This is concerning not only because of the failure to dominate a team who lost a player for nearly 60 minutes, but also because the back up plan did not work. Persib nearly fielded all of its key players to change the direction of the game. But it just didn’t make any substantial impact.
It remains to be seen how the team will react to this as in less than five days, Persib will face Borneo on Thursday in another battle to test its depth of the squad.
Following this result, Persib now stands in the fourth position with seven points after three games.