The Red Warriors never got out of second gear and crashed to a defeat at Selangor, missing a penalty along the way
BY MARK DAWSON
Kelantan should have gone ahead on 20 minutes as they were awarded the softest of penalties. It was unfamiliar left back S. Kunanlan who was adjudged to have felled Shawky Yazid, in a challenge that looked more shoulder to shoulder than an intentional foul. From a Selangor point of view justice was then done as Farizal Marlias kept out Francis Forkey Doe's penalty, although he himself was fortunate that the penalty wasn't retaken as the keeper had strayed at least three yards off his line before the ball was kicked.
The Red Giants struck back by going ahead on 22 minutes, and it was all down to the individual brilliance of Paolo Rangel. He picked up the ball from deep and wriggled past Obinna Nwaneri, before beating Tuan Faim and Zairul Fitree in the box, with his run eventually being stopped thanks to a clumsy tackle by Tuan Faim, resulting in a penalty. Although Khairul Fahmi guessed the right way for the resulting penalty, Rangel's low strike had enough power to creep underneath him.
Selangor could have added to their lead on 33 minutes as S Veenod burst forward from midfield and decided to go alone rather than play in Rangel. His effort from just inside the area had the required power, but was too high, and the midfielder was subsequently left in a heap from Obinna's late challenge which could have resulted in a second penalty.
Three minutes later and the usually reliable Rangel had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0. Their seemed little danger from a corner as Obinna headed clear, but Selangor headed the ball back into the area finding Rangel unmarked six yards out. However the Brazilian could only head wide with Khairul Fahmi off his line, in a miss the forward could scarcely believe.
Although the Red Warriors hit back with a long range strike from Wan Zahararulnizam which went just wide, they were sloppy in possession and extremely vulnerable whenever the home team pushed forward, with Thamil Arasu and Andik Vermanshah continually finding space. Thamil almost found danger man Rangel with a ball across goal just before the break, but the striker was unable to get a toe on the cross.
Selangor's silky skilled Andik was enjoying one of his finest games in a red shirt, and it was another of his precise through balls that led to the first real chance of the second half on 55 minutes. He played in Thamil who decided not to cross for Rangel, and try and catch Fahmi out at his near post, but the keeper was up to the challenge.
By his standards Paolo Rangel was guilty of perhaps the miss of the season on 59 minutes. It was good build up play again by the home team who picked up where they left off in the first half, and after Gurusamy was released in the area he squared for Rangel who missed the open goal from 10 yards out.
The visitors, despite making three substitutions, were struggling to create any chances of note in an unusually flat performance. In fact it was the home team, namely through Andik and Rangel, who looked the more dangerous, with the latter going close on 74 minutes after another counter attack.