Dirkir Glay might have started his career well after signing a two-month deal with Super League club Pusamania Borneo, but the Liberian international center defender’s last game with the club will never be forgotten, as he missed out on the chance of winning a title.
The former Thinka United and Gor Mahai center defender played a full 90 minutes on March 12 when his side suffered a 5-1 humiliation in the final of the 2017 Indonesian President Cup.
Having knocked out giants Madura United and Persib Bandung in the quarter and semifinals, it was expected that Pusmania would have produced fireworks against an experienced Arema team. However, the high expectations turned out the opposite way, as the match became a one-sided final.
A hat-trick from 40-year-old striker Cristain Gonzales, a goal from Hanif Sjahbandi, and Wawan Hendrawan’s own goal were enough to deny Borneo a victory. They got their lone goal through substitute Firli Apriiansyah.
Borneo began the match as the better side, creating and missing the first clear chances of the encounter. Brazilian striker Reinaldo Elias da Costa and Indonesian forward, Terens Puhiri missed an open chance that would have been the curtain raiser.
It took Arema 30 minutes to set the stadium ablaze when they scored the first goal of the match. The Mad Lions took a well-deserved lead through Hanif Sjahbandi, who scored from a slight defense error.
Borneo failed to clear out a cross that hit the woodwork before coming to Sjahbandi, who scored from within the penalty area. Seven minutes later, Arema doubled the score from Hendrawan’s own goal. The Borneo goalkeeper attempted to stop a pass from Yamashita, but unfortunately, it slipped into his own goal.
Two goals up after 37 minutes of play, Arema was no doubt the better side with their domination of the ball possession and the club became the early favorite for the title with Borneo’s poor display. Borneo failed to get a goal as the match gradually approached halftime, then Arema made the lead three with two minutes till the break.
Uruguay-born Indonesian striker Cristian Gonzales won a ball from Glay right in Borneo’s danger zone and made no mistake as he struck it to the back of Hendrawan’s net.
Borneo frustratingly went to the break down by three goals, and their hopes of leveling the score looked almost impossible with Arema’s brilliant performance in the opening half.
Gonzales returned after the break as the man to light up the fans. The veteran forward registered his name twice on the score sheet in the second half to complete his hat-trick. He got his second goal in the 53rd minute before adding his third score 11 minutes later.
With 26 minutes to go, fans in the stadium became more jubilant while awaiting the sound of the final whistle. The heavy scoreline appeared to have affected Borneo mentally during the remaining minutes, as there was no coordinating play.
Borneo, however, got a lone goal in the 69th minute through substitute Firli Apriiansyah. Despite conceding a goal, Arema kept their pace and prevented Borneo from scoring again as the score remained 5-1 until the sound of the final whistle.
Speaking after the match, Glay expressed his frustration on missing out on the title.
“It’s really a sad thing for me and the entire team. We were hoping to win the title, but it is all football,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t get what you planned for. We all have to move on and keep working harder ahead of the new league season.”
Photo courtesy of Pusamania Borneo