Arema Runs Down Persik to Reach Final
Must Joyo | 7/30/2010 10:29:00 AM | 4komentar
The victory set up the Crazy Lions, the reigning Super League champion, for a collision course with two-time Cup winner Sriwijaya FC in the final on Sunday.
Irfan Raditya, Muhammad Ridhuan, Rachmat Affandi and Muhamad Fakhrudin each scored for Arema, ousting a Persik side that was reduced to 10 men after goalkeeper Fauzi Toldo was sent off in the 80th minute.
“It was a strong performance by the team and I laud them for that,” Arema coach Robert Alberts said.
“They played with a lot of confidence, and they simply willed themselves to victory in this one.”
At Gelora Delta Stadium, both teams started slow in a lackluster first half, which each side struggling to break through the other’s defensive lines.
Arema returned after the break with more energy, and Irfan finally put his team on the scoreboard three minutes into the second half after an assist from Pierre Njanka.
That was just the beginning of a bad night for Toldo.
After Singaporean striker Noh Alam Shah saw his goal disallowed for offside in the 50th minute, Arema again beat Toldo a minute later, courtesy of midfielder Ridhuan, to make the score 2-0.
In the 80th minute, Toldo received an immediate red card from referee Oki Dwi Putra after he brought down Alam Shah outside the penalty box.
Because Persik had used up all its substitutions, midfielder Wawan Widiantoro was assigned to man the goal.
Fakhrudin extended Arema’s lead to 3-0 two minutes later, and Rachmat completed the rout.
Persik coach Agus Yuwono said his team failed to keep its composure.
“Our players just lost their focus right at the start of the second half, that’s why we conceded two easy goals,” Agus said.
“I thought we had a chance to get back in the match, but after the red card the game was over.”
It will be the third appearance in the final for Arema, who won the inaugural championship in 2005 then successfully defended it in 2006.
“We’re looking forward to a great match against Sriwijaya,” said Alberts, who is looking to give Arema its first domestic double against the only team to have ever achieved the feat.
“We’re up against a great team, but I know we also have good chance of beating them. We want to end this season on a high note, and we just have to work hard to achieve that,” he said.
The third-place playoff between Persik and Persipura Jayapura will be broadcast live on RCTI at 3.30 p.m. The final will take place at Manahan Stadium in Solo, Central Java at 8 p.m.