Moch. N. Kurniawan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Host Persija Jakarta was held to a 1-1 draw Saturday by last year's runner-up Persipura Jayapura in the home semifinal of the 2006 Copa Dji Sam Soe Indonesia in Lebak Bulus Stadium, South Jakarta.
Persipura, seeking revenge against last year's champion Arema Malang, took a 1-0 lead through striker David Darocha in the 45th minute. But the team's defenders let the lead slip out of their hands, allowing the host's Hamka Hamzah to level in the 57th minute.
Both teams were also tied in terms of ball possession with Persija slightly dominating the match.
The result means Persipura, which won last year's Indonesian League competition, only needs a scoreless draw in the second semifinal match at home next week.
Persija coach Rahmat Darmawan said Persipura played smart soccer, controlling the rhythm of the game.
""Our players were rushed and passed too many long balls, which was easily read by Persipura players,"" he said.
""They should have been more patient about creating chances.""
Some of his players like Agus Indra Kurniawan were not fit on Saturday, thus they only deployed the second stringers, Rahmat added.
He was pessimistic about the chances of his team reaching the final, considering they need to fly to Jayapura, Papua.
Persipura coach Metu Dwaramuri was upbeat that his team would advance to the final and get closer to another title collection. He said his strategy had worked well and his players were able to mark Persija's wingers Ismed Sofyan and Hamka Hamzah.
""We didn't do man-to-man marking today. If we had, we might have been able to beat Persija,"" he said.
""We have to thank Pak Rahmat, our former coach, because he taught us how to beat Persija.""
The winner of the semifinal match between Persija and Persipura will face the winner of another semifinal match between Arema Malang and PSMS Medan.
In the other semifinal first match in Medan, North Sumatra, on Friday, PSMS Medan held defending champion Arema 1-1.