Versatile Matos aims to keep Persija on winning track
Jakarta: Bruno Matos has taken on the mantle of goal-getter for Persija Jakarta in the absence of last year's leading scorer Marko Simic, and the Brazilian will be the main threat for the Indonesians when they face Ceres Negros on Wednesday.
In the 2018 AFC Cup campaign Croatian Simic netted eight times in the group stage alone, and without the frontman Persija struggled in attack in their 2019 opener at home to Vietnam's Becamex Binh Duong.
However, in their Matchday Two tie against Shan United, Matos - whose natural position is in midfield - stepped up when it mattered.
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A goal down with over an hour played, the man from Bahia first found the equaliser and then made certain of victory with his side's third in the 3-1 win.
"I am ready to play in any position from the left, right or in the middle; it does not matter to me," said the 28-year-old, who was Persija most advanced forward player, ahead of striker Silvio Escobar, in Yangon.
"The important thing is I am always ready to help the team to win the match. It's my coach's decision to play me wherever he needs me, I am ready to play."
Accordingly, Persija coach Ivan Kolev highlighted the importance for positional versatility amongst his players, with the domestic and continental fixtures coming thick and fast for the capital city club.
“I want the players to not only be set in one favoured position,” said the Bulgarian tactician, who is boosted by the injury-free return of Indonesia stars Riko Simanjuntak, Novri Setiawan and goalkeeper Andritany Ardhiyasa from international duty.
“They have to be prepared to play anywhere on the field and ready to anticipate any scenaro that could arise due to injuries or rotation."
However, before the trip to the Philippines and a meeting with Ceres, Persija must first negotiate an Indonesia President's Cup quarter-final with Kalteng Putra on Thursday.
Matos has already scored four times in just three President's Cups matches and will look to continue his and Persija's run going in both domestic and continental cup competitions.
"The most important thing is for me to help the team to win each match. If I am the one to score the goals that help us win, then that's a bonus," said Matos.
"The important thing is Persija remains on the winning track and keep recording victories."
Photos - Persija Jakarta