Matchday Four - Group H: Persija Jakarta 1-0 Song Lam Nghe An
Jakarta: A stunning last-gasp Addison volley threw Group H of the AFC Cup wide open as Indonesia’s Persija Jakarta defeated Vietnam’s Song Lam Nghe An 1-0 at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on Wednesday.
Roared on by a passionate home support, Persija had the better of the opening stages but struggled to create any clear-cut chances, with striker Marko Simic’s header over the bar from Ismed Sofyan’s cross the closest they came in the first 30 minutes.
As the half wore on, the game was being played almost entirely in the Song Lam Nghe An half and it was Simic who looked the most likely as the big Croatian curled over as the interval approached, before Riko Simanjuntak had a goal ruled out for offside just minutes later.
Persija continued to apply the pressure after the restart and substitute Addison’s left-foot effort was well saved by goalkeeper Le Quang Dai, before the forward had an effort ruled out for handball soon after.
Simic’s header from Rezaldi Hehanusa’s corner was cleared off the line and the forward came close once more when he headed Addison’s cross from the left agonisingly wide.
Bambang Pamungkas was then introduced with 12 minutes remaining as the hosts went all out for the win and the striker’s looping header was pushed over by Quang Dai in the 85th minute.
The visitors could have snatched a smash-and-grab goal as the clocked ticked down but Ho Tuan Tai curled just wide with two minutes remaining as the draw seemed the inevitable outcome.
But Persija then won it in the most dramatic of fashion when Addison volleyed home a superb effort from the right side of the area in the third minute of added time after Hehanusa’s long ball over the top to send the stadium into raptures.
The win moves Persija above Song Lam Nghe An by virtue of a better head-to-head record, with the Indonesian side to host Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim on Matchday Five, when the Vietnamese team play Singapore’s Tampines Rovers in Vinh.