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Late Semarang comeback hands victory to Gilbert Agius in Indonesian league opener

Three late goals between the 87th and 97th minute cancelled a one-goal deficit and handed Gilbert Agius and his PSIS Semarang side a winning start to the 2023/2024 Indonesian top-flight championship.

Semarang were hosting Bhayangkara FC, a team they have never beaten, with Agius pointing out that this negative record was a source of motivation for them during the pre-game press conference on Sunday.

For this home game, Agius handed a start to a couple of former Maltese football players in Taisei Marukawa – who had spells at Senglea Athletic and Valletta – and Boubakary Diarra, who joined Semarang’s ranks this season after 38 appearances for Mosta.

Semarang went one goal down inside the opening half-hour of the match and until three minutes from the final whistle, they were heading to a disappointing start to their season.

However, all changed when Marukawa assisted both Carlos Fortes (87th) and Paulo Gali (92nd) with Semarang turning the score to their favour.

Diarra wrapped up the victory with Semarang’s third on the 97th minute when he slotted home a rebound following a free-kick situation.

Agius took over at Semarang in March and helped the team to rescue their first-tier status with two victories in his last three games in charge during the previous campaign.

Coincidentally, his Semarang debut was against Bhayangkara FC with the latter clinching a 3-2 victory.

Semarang’s next game will be against Persita, in five days time.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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