Red Giants kept alive their hopes of qualification from Group F of AFC Cup as Rangel maintains his good goal scoring run.
BY OOI KIN FAI
Selangor hosted Hanoi T&T in the fourth round of matches in Group F of the AFC Cup and for the first time this season, they played at the recently re-opened Shah Alam Stadium. With Arema beating Maziya in the other group match that was played earlier in the day, Selangor knew that anything other than 3 points would mean an early departure from the competition.
However it was the visitors who has a 100% win record in the group, who started the stronger. Samson Kayode was a constant threat down the right hand side of Selangor, keeping Bunyamin Omar on his back foot with his dribbling skills and movement. Hanoi had the first chance to score when Gonzalo Marronkle had a free header inside the box but directed it too straight at Farizal Marlias in goal.
At the other end, Paulo Rangel would fare much better when presented with a heading opportunity. His looping header from Hadi Yahya’s free kick may have been weak but was in the right direction to go in just underneath the crossbar. Duong Hong Son in goal for Hanoi will have to take the majority of the blame for not being sure where the ball was heading.
By the 32nd minute, Selangor doubled their lead. On a counter attack, Hadi received the ball on the right and quickly pass it to Rangel on the edge of Hanoi’s box. The Brazilian striker held off the challenge of Sam Gallagher before slotting home the ball past Hong Son.
It looked like Selangor was cruising before a mistimed challenge from Hazwan Bakri on Hughton Hector, handed Hanoi a penalty and a chance back into the game. Bakri should have stayed on his feet instead of showing his foot on Hector when the shot wasn’t entirely clear cut. Marronkle sent Farizal the wrong way to make the score 2-1.
However, just 2 minutes before the end of the half, Rangel struck again to earn his hattrick. This time, S. Kunanlan who was playing in the middle of the park today, slipped a wonderful through ball for Rangel. The Selangor top scorer didn’t rush the shot, sold Hong Son the dummy before planting his third shot into the net.
Coach of Hanoi, Phan Thanh Hung must have some strong words to say during half time because his side looked a more energetic side in the second half. Hanoi players were faster in the challenge and didn’t allow Selangor to have it all on their own. However, some of the challenges were a little too physical with Rangel and Thamil Arasu bearing the brunt of the impacts. Selangor didn’t take it lying down and the number of yellow cards for both sides proved that.
The threat of AFC Cup’s top scorer, Nguyen Van Quyet was completely nullified by the combined efforts of Rizal Fahmi and the hardworking Kunanlan. Other than taking the penalty, even Marronkle was anonymous throughout the second half of the match.
As for Mehmet Durakovic’s tactics, it was clear that he was satisfied with the 3-1 lead. His team ceded possession to the away side but kept the shape of the team very well. It’s a different sort of control and one which worked out well for the Australian coach. Even when Selangor had the chance to counter, they were wary not to throw too many men forward and always had 7 or 8 players back.
In the end, Selangor held on to win 3-1 to breathe some life back into their AFC Cup campaign. Wins in the last 2 matches is necessary if Selangor wants to progress through to the knock-out stage of the competition. As for Hanoi, this defeat dents their perfect record but barring a major downturn in form, it only delays their qualification by a match or two.