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2017 Indonesian Super League
  • Ilija Spasojevic (3')
  • Rizki Lestaluhu (45'+2', 84')

British coach Simon McMenemy guides Bhayangkara to Indonesia title

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Bhayangkara were crowned champions of Indonesia's Liga 1 after finishing above Bali United at the end of an exciting title race, despite losing their final game of the season to Persija.

The West Javans finished level on points with Bali. But, despite having an inferior goal difference, they lifted the trophy due to a better head-to-head record against their closest challengers.

However, there was controversy surrounding the title triumph.

Bhayangkara were helped by being awarded a forfeit 3-0 win in their Nov. 3 fixture at Mitra Kukar. The original game ended 1-1, but Mitra were adjudged to have fielded an ineligible player in former Liverpool and Juventus star Mohamed Sissoko.

Those two extra points meant that Bhayangkara could afford to lose the final game against Persija and they did just that, sliding to a 2-1 defeat.

Ilija Spasojevic scored early in the game to put the champions-elect in front. But goals late in each half from Rizki Lestaluhu gave Persija the win, though Bhayangkara were still in celebration mode.

Bhayangkara coach Simon McMenemy delivered a first-ever title for the club -- not one of the country's traditional giants. He was understandably focusing more on the season as a whole, rather than the final-day loss.

"I don't want to talk much about the defeat today," the British coach, who is a former Philippines' boss, said. "But when you look at the bigger picture then we can see that we are the champions so this defeat, may be disappointing but is not very influential."

Bali defeated already relegated Gresik United 3-0 to secure second while PSM Makassar stayed in third after thrashing Madura United 6-1.

Semen Padang will join Gresik and Persiba Balikpapan in the second tier next season, despite defeating PS TNI 2-0.

Perseru Serui stayed safe with a 2-0 win at Michael Essien's Persib Bandung.

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