Despite ongoing concerns about his fitness, Michael Essien’s temper stole the show on Saturday when he was left fuming after a confrontation with an opponent in a friendly defeat.
Persib Bandung lost the match 2-1 against Bali United, but one of the main talking points in the match came 18 minutes from the end, when United player Yabes Roni kicked a ball in Essien’s face.
The Ghana legend was clearly not happy with what he perceived as a deliberate act and—living up to his ‘Bison’ nickname, began chasing after Roni.
He was eventually calmed by his players and the match officials, and while Roni was dismissed, a late goal by Raphael Maitimo wasn’t enough to save a draw for the Indonesian heavyweights.
The 34-year-old joined the Indonesian heavyweights in March after his stint with Greek giants Panathinaikos came to an end, and opened his account on his debut in midweek by finding the net in a 7-0 friendly victory over Parsika Kawarang.
After the match, coach Djadjang Nurdjaman questioned the player’s fitness and insisted that Essien needed more time on the training field in order to hit top form.
He was introduced in the second half on Saturday as Persib continue their preparations for the upcoming Indonesian top flight campaign, with Bali assistant coach Eko Purjianto revealing ahead of the match that his side had no special plans to cage Essien but were confident that his side were prepared for any eventuality.
Ultimately, Essien was unable to repeat his goalscoring feat, although he did see a free kick deflected just wide of the goal early in the second period.