10-man Selangor seal a valuable away point against the Maldivian League runners-up in the Group F AFC Cup encounter
BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
Selangor travelled to the Maldives in search for their first win in Group F of the AFC Cup, after only managing a draw in the opening match against Arema. Their host and opponent, Maziya Sports & Recreation was looking to get their first point on the board after a disappointing result in their own first match to Hanoi T&T.
While Maziya has not had much match fitness, given that their league has not started yet, the situation isn't much different with Selangor. Mehmet Durakovic last saw his team play in that unfortunate draw with Arema, 14 days ago. International commitment has robbed him of the chance to fully prepare his team for this match.
It started well for the Red Giants as they took the lead in the first half from an unusual source in the shape of Steve Pantelidis. Having depended so much on the goalscoring return of Paulo Rangel, it must be a relief for Durakovic and also the Selangor fans to see another name on the scoresheet.
The jubilation was gone soon after the restart for the second half as Hamsani Ahmad's experience deserted him. His rash challenge inside the penalty box, saw the referee awarding a penalty to Maziya and showing the red card to the Selangor keeper.
With the man advantage, Maziya piled on the pressure but found Selangor's defence a tough nut to crack. Pantelidis and Shahrom dealt with the crosses pumped in from left and right, rather easily. Even S. Kunanlan, playing as the right back, was giving Farizal Marlias plenty of protection.
On the rare occasions that Selangor did manage to win possession back, their counter attacking moves were dangerous. Andik Vermansyah proved just why he's an important member of this Selangor team, often driving his team on with his dribbling skills. The visitors best chance to grab all 3 points came through Rangel, but his freekick was well tip over by Imran Mohammed in Maziya's goal.
However, neither side could break the deadlock and had to settle for a point each. Selangor's task isn't made easier as they have to face Hanoi T&T in the next game, the Vietnamese side is the only side with full points after 2 rounds of matches.