Michael Essien misses penalty as Persib draw in Indonesia
Michael Essien missed a penalty and Persib Bandung missed a chance to go top of the Indonesia Liga 1 after being held to a 2-2 draw at home to Borneo on Saturday evening.
A last-minute equaliser from the visitors silenced the vast majority of a near 26,000 crowd. But the former Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder could have put Persib 3-1 ahead with 20 minutes remaining had he not ballooned his spot kick far over the bar.
It started badly for Persib as Borneo took the lead in the 17th minute. Riswan Yusman collected a pass from Flavio at the edge of the area and turned to shoot past Nashir Mahbuby.
The West Javans responded quickly. Essien lost the ball just inside the Borneo area, but possession found its way to Gian Nugraha just outside the area, and the teenager fired home a low shot.
Seven minutes later, the hosts were ahead as Vladamir Vujovic popped up at the far post to slot Sergio van Dijk's low cross that rolled across the Borneo six-yard box, into an empty net.
Essien could have almost sealed the win just past the midway point of the second half. The midfielder was adjudged to have been bundled over in the area by Leonard Tupamahu. But then he stepped up to miss by some distance.
Billy Tak Salahkan Kegagalan Essien https://t.co/O0w6jzvIZG- PERSIB (@persib) May 21, 2017
Persib were made to pay for that just a minute from time in spectacular fashion by Matheus. The Brazilan took possession far from goal, but fired home an unstoppable shot from the left side.
The hosts poured forward in added time, without being able to restore their lead.
"It is a very disappointing result," said Persib coach Djadjang Nurdjaman. "We should have taken all three points and I would like to apologise to the fans."
The coach pointed out that Essien was not the designated penalty taker.
"I had appointed Vladamir Vujovic as the taker. but when Essien took the ball, Vujovic did not insist. Even Cristiano Ronaldo can miss a penalty. But there is still a long way to go this season and we can improve in the future," he said.
Also on Saturday, Didier Zokora played 90 minutes as Semen Padang lost 1-0 at Bhayangkara -- a third defeat in four games -- while Mitra Kukar moved into fourth thanks to a 1-0 win at home to strugglers Perseru Serui.
Madura United are in third following a 4-1 win over PS TNI on Friday. Peter Odemwingie scored his fifth of the season to put the hosts 2-0 ahead in the first half. The former Stoke City and West Bromich Albion winger also assisted twice as the East Javans took control.
Leaders PSM can go three points clear at the top on Sunday if they defeat Sriwijaya at home.
Asian expert John Duerden is the author of Lions and Tigers: Story of Football in Singapore and Malaysia.Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.