Selangor go top after inflicting a rare home defeat to Pahang at Darulmakmur
BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
What is unarguably the biggest 2014 MSL match yet was played earlier between league leaders and home side Pahang and second-placed Selangor. Both teams went into the match level on points, and needed to win in order to separate themselves with the rest of the pack.
The Elephants were the more convincing side from the whistle, and almost found the opener through their forward, Matias Conti's attempt following an Azmi Muslim mistake. But his shot in the 13th minute was palmed away effortlessly by Red Giants goalkeeper Farizal Marlias.
With their Brazilian forward Paulo Rangel marked from the get go by Pahang, Selangor rarely went forward save for a smattering of runs from their winger Andik Vermansyah. By the 23rd minute, Pahang have had six corner kicks, while the visitors had none.
Former Selangor player, Azidan Sarudin came close to scoring in the 26th minute from a freekick taken at the edge of the penalty box after R Gopinathan was fouled, but his attempt could only brush the top of the Selangor bar.
The first half ended a very cautious 0-0 affair.
Four minutes into the second half, Azidan again threatened the Selangor goal from outside the box, this time through an on-the-run strike after being teed up by Dickson Nwakaeme. He missed the top right corner by a few agonising milimeters.
However against the run of play, the visitors found the opening goal in the 65th minute. A sudden move forward that was instigated by Andik, was finished by himself after he was released by Rangel in the Pahang box, slotting the ball past goalkeeper Nasril Nourdin.
However Pahang were not behind for the want of chances. They had numerous chances, but their forwards Nwakaeme and Conti were not their usual sharp selves.
In the dying minutes of the match, Nwakaeme had a chance to find the equaliser through a free header, but his header went over.
The match finished 1-0 to Selangor, who overtook Pahang to go top through the win. The defeat was also Pahang's first home defeat since June 2013.