ACL: Who are Persija Jakarta?

After emerging as victors from last night’s AFC Champions League Preliminary Round 1, Persija Jakarta has been confirmed as our opponent for next Tuesday’s massive ACL clash.

The Preliminary Round 2 clash is a knockout encounter, with the winner to progress to the Play-off Round and face reigning AFC Champions League champions, Kashima Antlers.

SQUAD: Ernie's 18-man squad for AFC Champions League

Unsure of exactly who Persija Jakarta are, though?

Don’t worry – we’ve done the legwork for you, and found out everything you need to know about our first Asian opponents in almost ten years.

The path to Newy

Champions of the Indonesian Liga 1 in 2018, Persija Jakarta is the most successful club in the history of Indonesian football.

The success is largely historical though, with last year’s league victory their first since 2001.

The Indonesian club qualified for the play-off stages of the AFC Champions League after finishing top of Liga 1 last season. It was tight though, with just one point separating them from second place.

They qualified one stage earlier than the Jets though, and made it through to the Second Round of the Play-Off stages with a 3-1 win over Home United.

This the second year running that Persija will feature in Asia. In 2018, Persija Jakarta made it to the knockout stage where they were defeated 6-3 on aggregate by Home United.

The players

The core of the Persija Jakarta side is Indonesian, with just five foreign players among their ranks.

One of those foreigners is Croatian attacker, Mario Simic, who scored the third goal in the big win over Home United.

There are also a couple of stalwarts among the Jakarta ranks, with the likes of Ismed Sofyan among them. The 39-year-old fullback has played almost 400 games for Jakarta since his debut in 2002.

Marko Simic Persija Jakarta

The season so far

Tuesday night’s game wasn't the first of Persija Jakarta’s 2019 campaign, despite the Indonesian Liga 1 not set to kick-off until early May.

They played two legs of an Indonesian Cup knock-out match on 23 and 31 January, winning 9-3 on aggregate over Liga 3 side, 757 Kepri Jaya.

Despite still battling through the early stages of their pre-season, it means Jakarta have some competitive minutes under their belt and the form guide shows they're in good nick.

They’ll be a tough opponent next Tuesday night – which means the boys will need the support of Newcastle to help them over the line.