Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Indonesian Football Story in Jakarta Post Shock!

Defending champion Arema Malang is one step away from retaining its crown after taming PSMS Medan 4-2 in a home semifinal match of the 2006 Copa Dji Sam Soe Indonesia on Monday.
The victory, however, was shadowed by fear of crowd violence during the Sept. 16 final, which will take place at the Delta Stadium in Sidoarjo, East Java.
Arema's road to the semifinals was marred with violent clashes between its supporters and those of archrival Persebaya in the latter's home base Surabaya. Twelve people were injured and the stadium's management suffered losses of more than Rp 2 billion (US$219,780).
Persebaya was later banned from competing in East Java for a year, while its fans are not allowed to attend soccer matches for three years. The club has appealed the ruling.
In Monday's match, Arema's striker Antony Jumah Ballah scored twice in the fifth and 22nd minutes. Entering the second half, PSMS' Gree Nwokolo narrowed the gap by scoring in the 63rd minute.
But four minutes later, Arema's strikers Franco Hitta and Emaleu Sergen widened the gap, scoring goals in the 67th and 78th minutes respectively.
Nearing the end of the match, PSMS' Gree Nwokolo made nice use of a handball infraction by one of Arema's defenders, bringing the match to a 4-2 close after Arema's goalie Kurnia Sandi was unable to block the ball.
Arema will face either hot favorite Persija of Jakarta or last year's runner-up Persipura Jayapura, whose semifinal result will be decided Tuesday in Jayapura, Papua. Both teams tied 1-1 last Saturday.
Arema coach Benny Dollo said he was happy with the result but noted that his players have yet to put in their best performances.
"PSMS played very well today. They even played better than the first leg of the semifinal last week."
Benny declined to rate his team's chances against the other semifinal winner, saying both are tough teams.
He called on the Indonesian League Body (BLI), which manages national soccer games, to reconsider the venue for the final match.
"We all know that Arema has a bad record with Surabaya. The BLI should reconsider and take preventive measures ahead of the final."
PSMS coach Rudi Saari, whose team will fight for third place finisher, requested a guarantee the venue would be secure.
"If they can't guarantee security at the stadium, we had better just pull out and go back to Medan. I don't care about the consequences. My players' safety is more important."

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