The ending to Phase One
2 games left to go, 1 against bottom, the other against top of the league.
But before those games, a couple of surprising news. I came 3rd in the manager of the month award! The first bit of recognition in my new profession, and with that the board also decide to throw in some very welcomed praise, just to boost my ego a little bit more.
And while we’re at it, we might as well find out what the players themselves think of me now that I’ve been here for 3 months or so.
And again, a little bit more of that ego boost juice, it’s a big improvement from the beginning of my reign.
It comes at a good time, as just before the last game of the season we will have a bunch of new arrivals at the club. We will have 1 game and around 10 days to get them up to speed with our philosophy, a few of them have been with us on trial since we agreed terms so that should help them settle a lot quicker!
Now if all of this wasn’t enough… Sriwijaya FC
have lost their latest game, which means, if we are to win the next game, we will be just 1 point behind them heading into the final day clash against them!
With all that positivity going around the camp, we are ready to travel to Central Java, for once a coach is all we need for the 4 hour and a bit journey to face Persekat Tegal
Persekat Tegal Game
Call me boring, but I couldn’t bring myself to change anything from the last game heading into this one.
We start by far the better team, and after just 5 minutes, the incredible partnership of Pae
continues, the wing back finds the inform striker with a lovely ball over the top, and in the kind of form he’s in Buddy
makes no mistake and slots it in the bottom corner to put us ahead!
Even though Buddy
is having the game of his life so far, it takes us a whole 40 minutes to manage another shot on target, luckily for us, the ball fell to Buddy
after an awful deflection, and he hits the ball into an empty net. 0-2 just as the break approaches.
2 shots on target 2 goals, they managed none. So things couldn’t be looking any better for us.
I keep the half time talk to a minimum. Nothing needs to change, we just need to be professional like we were in our last game.
3 minutes into the second half and the fortunes completely change, they have a free kick, and following a couple of rebounds in the box, the ball falls for Budiyono
who is their center back, and he scores the easiest goal of his career.
And less than 10 minutes after that, they get us on the counter and Pae
who was having a great game until now, commits a silly foul on one of their players in the box… Penalty to Persekat
our goalkeeper guesses the right side, but can’t quite reach the ball, 2-2.
I was beginning to fear the worse, but since that penalty we were again on top, and after a free kick on the right side, our midfield genius Suhendra
puts in a lovely cross to the far post and Sukmara
meets it with a powerful header into the back of the net! His first ever goal for us and it’s 2-3, with 24 minutes to go.
Like a game of Basketball, they are now on the attack. What a game!
But although they have more of the ball, we hit the cross bar on two occasions! Agonising to say the least. Nevertheless, we hold on to the lead and it’s all to play for in the last game!
Before the last game of the regular season, or in other words, before things get proper serious, our new signings join the rest of the squad. There are seven new players on a permanent deal with an extra centre back arriving on loan.
Not to put any pressure on the new arrivals, but following our last performance 3 of our players were named in the team of the week. Sukmara
. All playing in positions that we now have plenty of competition for. They have certainly earned their place in the next starting 11.
Sriwijaya FC Game
The winner will win the first phase group A, for our first ever season, this would be an incredible achievement regardless of what we do in the second phase.
Unfortunately apart from the loanee centre back Arta
none of the other new players were able to get registered in time for this game. But since we’ve won 4 out of the last 5 games, I really should be sticking to the players that got us those results anyway.
The first chance of the game falls to Buddy
on the 5th minute, but he was offiside, his header was straight at the keeper anyway.
10 minutes later, Sriwijaya
play the ball on the right hand side, and manage to get a cross into the penalty area, their striker wins the header, and the ball crashes against the post, the rebound is met by Hartono
, their winger, and he smashes it into an empty net… 0-1.
We keep our heads up, and stick to the plan. And no longer than 2 minutes after their goal, Mursalim
gets fouled inside the box and we get a penalty. Suhendra
steps up, and sends the keeper the wrong way. 4th of the season for him, and it’s all levelled again.
The rest of the first half is all Sriwijaya FC
, they are well up for it. And as the clock hits 33 minutes, they cross the ball into the box following a corner on the right hand side, and Mursalim
who earlier won the penalty, decides to handle the ball. Penalty to them, Kurnia
to take it. And Rivky
, our goalkeeper guesses it right, as he did in our last game, only this time he manages to parry it and get up quickly to gather the lose ball! 1-1 still the score.
Half time and all to play for in the second.
First chance falls to us once again, this time Suhendra
with a free kick, which he curls almost perfectly into the top corner, but is denied by the crossbar. So close!
Not much else to report from the second half unfortunately. We go for it in the last 15minutes to try and get the winner, but it wasn’t to be. We avoid defeat, and that should do the morale wonders heading into the difficult set of fixtures ahead of us.
The groups have been drawn for the second phase, 3 games to try and finish in the top 2 and head to a playoff semi-final. Let’s hope the new arrivals settle in quick, the first game is in 7 days!
Reply to Comments
– Yeah that result turned out to be the difference between 1st and 2nd place in the end, but I am still very happy to head into the Second Phase of the league in the form we’re in.
– Thanks for the heads up! Going up would be amazing in my first season, but I honestly can’t see it, it will all depend on the new signings I reckon. But I look forward to the top division whenever I reach it
– The easier bit is over now, I am looking forward to the next 6 games and see how the tactic behaves, specially with the new players coming in.
– Certainly seems that way, let’s hope it carries on into the second phase of the league and gets us to a play off semi final at least! Thanks for reading