Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Persebaya Eager To Welcome Martapura To Bung Tomo
Persebaya are back in more ways than one. The fans are queuing hours to see the Green Force and the team are looking a real possibility to return to the top flight of Indonesian football for the first time since god knows when. When I saw them play Persepam MU at the Bung Tomo Stadium earlier in the season the crowd was around the 22,000 mark. Their last home game against Persatu, an unfancied club from the north coast of Java, more than 35,000 saw the game. Last week Persebaya played Madiun Putra away and the supporters packed the terraces and many saw the game from the running track with an estimated 15,000 + making the journey.
The Green Force are currently second in Group 5 of Liga 2, one point behind leaders Martapura with a game in hand. It so happens the team from South Kalimantan are Persebaya's next opponents when the teams go head to head this Thursday and the Bonek are already pumped up for the game. The fans who made the journey were less than impressed with their hosts and the atmosphere surrounding the game. Their last meeting earlier in the season saw Martapura win 2-1 in controversial circumstances and while the headlines were about their coach at the time Iwan Setiawan
The atmosphere this Thursday promises to be red hot and the Persebaya fans will be hoping Martapura, who haven't lost a home game since November 2014, won't find Bung Tomo as accommodating as they allege Demang Lehman Stadium is. Three points for Persebaya will see them climb to within a point of the leaders and give the Bonek the belief they will be able to see their heroes back in the top flight next season. Martapura coach Fran Sinatra will have his job cut out trying to get his team singing from the same page in front of such a hostile atmosphere and will be hoping the experienced, and aging, Isnan Ali will be the calm head on the field.