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Persipura Closes In on Title Indonesia Super League

Monday, June 6, 2011

History beckons for Persipura Jayapura as it embarks on a crucial away game in the Indonesian Super League on Saturday.

Persipura Closes In on Title Indonesia Super League

The Papuan club will visit Deltras Sidoarjo, looking for a win that will draw it closer to a record third league title.

The Black Pearls are currently top of the standings with 51 points, while Semen Padang (43) and Persija Jakarta (42) are second and third, respectively. Semen Padang has three matches remaining, while Persija has four games to go.

Even if Semen Padang and Persija win their remaining matches,

Persipura has five games to meet that target but coach Jacksen Tiago believes his squad’s title chase will be easier if it comes away with a win at Delta Stadium in Sidoarjo, East Java, over the weekend.

Persipura Closes In on Title Indonesia Super League

“I hope the boys focus on every single match we have left beginning on Saturday,” Tiago said on Friday.

Since the league turned professional in 1994, only Persipura, Persebaya Surabaya and Persik Kediri have won the league twice. Persipura did the trick in 2005 and 2008.

Persipura can complete its quest for a third title as early as Sunday, if it beats Deltras then Persija loses to Pelita Jaya in Solo, Central Java, on Sunday.

Tiago said the turning point to his team this season was a period between March and April, which saw Persipura go undefeated during a stretch of four-straight road games. In that run, the Black Pearls won 2-1 at PSPS Pekanbaru and drew the matches against Sriwijaya FC, Persib Bandung and Persija.

“I told the boys that if we could go through that crucial stage of the season, I like our chances to win the league,” the Brazilian coach said. “We’ve passed that test, and now we believe we’re closer to reaching our goal because of that.”

Persipura will miss regular starters in midfielder Zah Rahan Krangar and striker Lukas Mandowen. Krangar returned to his native Libya on national team duties,

But Tiago believes that his side, led by star striker Boaz Solossa, has enough firepower to take down Deltras, which is second from bottom in the 15-team league.

“[The absences] will affect the team only in terms of our playing style, but we have other players who can fill the void. We’re still a strong team,” Tiago said.

After the Deltras match, Persipura will be on the road for two more games. It will travel to Persisam Samarinda on Wednesday before visiting Bontang FC three days later.

Tiago’s side will conclude its season with consecutive games at home, to Pelita Jaya on June 16 and Semen Padang on June 19.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Persela Lamongan will host Arema Indonesia in an East Java derby at Kanjuruhan Stadium.

Sunday’s other match pits Sriwijaya away to Persiba. (jakartaglobe)

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