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September 21, 2013 8:45 PM MYT
Stadium Shah Alam — Shah Alam
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Selangor 2-1 Johor: Red Giants pick up consolation victory

Selangor register their first win in the 2013 Malaysia Cup, taking Johor out of the competition along with them

By Zulhilmi Zainal

Selangor - 2013 Malaysia Cup
Zulhilmi Zainal
The final match of the group stage of the 2013 that took place at the Shah Alam Stadium pitted Selangor against Johor.

Johor, in third place of Group A and separated by two points with first and second-placed ATM and Sime Darby, needed to win against the already-eliminated home side in order to guarantee qualification to the quarterfinal.

The visitors went into the match with the chance to qualify to the quarterfinals, whereas Selangor were simply looking to find their first win in their dismal run in this year's competition. Unsurprisingly, the away fans at the stadium outnumbered the home fans.

Johor had a number of chances early on in the match, but their first significant attack came in the 12th minute when captain Farid Ideris was released by a lobbed through pass. But at the last minute, Adib Aizuddin lunged in for a well-timed tackle.

In the 19th minute, the Red Giants had their first chance at making the match that little bit harder for their opponents, when S. Kunanlan sent in a teasing cross from the right. Fitri Shazwan connected with the ball well with a toe-poke, but goalkeeper Fazli Paat then did just as well to block the point blank range attempt, and to deny Fitri his second goal of the tournament.

A freekick taken in the 34th minute by Farid from just outside the Selangor box looked to be dipping just under the bar, but Selangor goalkeeper Sharbinee Alwi had already anticipated the direction to push the ball out.

Just before the halftime whistle, Selangor centreback Adam Griffiths went off position to the left wing to feed the ball to Amri Yahya. Amri then laid it off to K. Gurusamy for a drive from outside the box, but he could only finish with a weak shot that went just wide.

At half time it was 0-0, and Johor were nowhere near the first two spots in the group, especially with Sime Darby and ATM tied 1-1 at Selayang at the same time.

However right at the start of the second half, the visitors were given a reprieve in the form of a penalty kick when a Selangor defender shoved a Johor player in the box, after a quickly strung attack right from the kick off. Although Farid's first try was not allowed by the referee due to an improper placement of the ball, he did not miss with the second attempt.

But just as things were starting to look up for the visitors with them launching several dangerous attacks that was only hampered by their own poor finishing, disaster struck ten minutes later when See Kok Luen was sent off for a stomp.

Curiously, Selangor did not seem to show any urgency to equalise or to find their first win in the competition in this match. Only in the 67th minute did they come close to equalising through an Amri Yahya curler. But this time his attempt did not bend enough and went wide.

And when the equaliser finally did come just two minutes later, it happened thanks to what looked to be an own goal by a defender who was trying to clear a pass by Kunanlan. Fortunately for Kunanlan, the goal was credited to him anyway by the match official and the stadium announcer.

Amri, who this week has been linked with a move to another southern team Johor Darul Takzim, finally bent his trademark curler in, in the 75th minute, to score his second goal of the competition. Picking up a stray ball at the edge of the box, he whipped a shot that went over the defenders and the keeper before dipping to end up at the back of the net.

In the final minutes of the match, it was Johor who found themselves the more desperate side, as the Red Giants resorted to match-delaying tactics. The whistle was finally blown with the scoreline 2-1 to Selangor, with both teams crashing out of the competition.

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