Jakarta. Police-affiliated football club Bhayangkara has won this season's Indonesia's top tier-league Liga 1, despite losing in the last match to Persija Jakarta.
Bhayangkara lost 1-2 on Sunday (12/11) at its Patriot Candrabhaga Stadium in Bekasi, West Java, with Ilija Spasojevic's goal in the third minute answered twice by Persija's midfielder Rizki Lestaluhu in the 45th and 84th minutes.
The police club, which was created by the transformation of Surabaya United, has just debuted in Indonesia's professional league, attracting attention of football fans, as it gained a point change just a week before the season's end.
On Nov. 3, Bhayangkara played its 32nd of 34 matches against Mitra Kukar, which ended with a 1-1 draw, but the disciplinary commission of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) canceled the score after suspended player Mohamed Sissoko was fielded. PSSI decided to change the score to 3-0 for Bhayangkara.
The controversial move surprised many, as it was crucial to the police club's triumph.
"All Indonesians know we're the real champions," national football team player Irfan Bachdim said after his team Bali United trashed Gresik United 3-0 on Sunday, but finished second in the league table.
Bhayangkara's response was quick.
"Irfan behaved as if he were not a professional player. It shows he hasn't accepted the fact that his team finished second this season," Bhayangkara corporate secretary Rahmad Sumanjaya said in a press release on Monday.
"We've won twice over them, by 3-2 at home and 3-1 away, so how is Bali better than us?" he added.
Another critical statement came from the fifth-placed Madura United.
"Congratulations to Bhayangkara, which has won this league of joke," Madura manager Haruna Soemitro, whose team lost 1-3 to the police club last week, said on Goal.com.
Madura got its three players sent off in the match and Soemitro saw it as unusual.
"How can it be that the referee sent off three players of the same team? You can judge yourself what kind of league this is. We were fined Rp 50 million [$3,600], because we had less than 30 supporters. And I saw supporters wearing police uniforms. They aren't real supporters, only police officers who came to the stadium. This is a crime against football," he said.
Bhayangkara reportedly received Rp 17 billion for winning Liga 1.