Analysis: Simic unstoppable as Persija down JDT
Jakarta: A rapid-fire hat-trick from Marko Simic inside the opening 20 minutes helped Persija Jakarta to a comfortable 4-0 win over Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim in their AFC Cup clash at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on Tuesday.
The Indonesian side was powered on by a raucous crowd of over 60,000 – the largest ever crowd for an AFC Cup match – and used the energy of the crowd to blitz the visitors in the opening half.
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What more can be said when a player scores four goals in a match? The Croatian, and his lethal finishing, was the difference between the two sides on the night.
But his goals only tell one part of the story. What was arguably most impressive about his performance was how he dropped deep to help out in midfield, as evidenced on his heat map below.
Persija Jakarta set out to press from the front and Simic didn’t shirk his responsibilities, putting extreme pressure on the JDT midfield, which couldn’t cope with the home side’s work rate in the first half.
Nepalese international Rohit Chand is often asked to play in a number of positions, but he looked at home in central midfield last night, playing the box-to-box midfield role to perfection.
His range of passing was quite impressive, often floating perfectly weighted long passes in behind the full backs for either Riko Simanjuntak or Novri Setiawan, as shown on his passing map below. In total he completed 39 passes with an accuracy of 85 percent.
He also wasn’t afraid to do his share of the defensive work either, dropping back and helping out the defence and breaking up JDT’s attempted counter attacks, as shown on his defensive map below.
Steadying the Ship
There were more than a few eyebrows raised when JDT captain Safiq Rahim was named on the bench, and his influence in the middle of the park was clearly missed in a forgettable first half for the visitors.
The introduction at half-time of Rahim helped steady the ship for JDT in the second half, with the 30-year-old wrestling back control of the midfield for his side as Raul Longhi’s men started to look more dangerous and create opportunities of their own.
In total, Rahim completed an impressive 32 passes in the second half at 97 percent accuracy as he worked all areas of the pitch to try and get his side back into the match.
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