Paulo Rangel once again was at his clinical best to condemn reigning Malaysia Cup champions Pahang, to their second consecutive league defeat.
Selangor and Pahang both came into this Super League clash, hoping to go back on the winning trail after both suffered crushing defeats last weekend to LionsXII and Sime Darby respectively. Mehmet Durakovic fielded his first XI while Ronald Smith had to make changes to his midfield, slotting right back Saiful Nizam in the defensive midfield role.
The visitors were the first to threaten when Damion Stewart found his way into opposition half and let fly a thunderous shot which looked like it could have crept in into the bottom corner of Farizal Marlias’ goal. However, his own player, Azamuddin Akil was in the way and since contact with the ball was made, it was an easy offside decision for the assistant referee.
Junior Aparecido almost benefited from lackadaisical defending from Zesh Rehman. There was an unusual bounce on the ball which took it away from the experienced Pakistani international but he should have dealt with it before the ball touches the ground. Luckily for Zesh, Junior’s shot only managed to hit the leg of Khairul Azhan and the chance was gone.
One more big chance before half time fell for Pahang. This time, Hafiz Kamal delivered a sumptuous cross from the right hand side which perfectly found the on-rushing Azidan Sarudin. However, the Pahang playmaker just wasn’t calm enough to keep his shot low.
Selangor drew first blood at the start of the second half. Only 10 minutes has lapsed since the break when the deadlock was broken. Junior’s initial corner kick came right back out to him and at the second time of asking, his delivery was much better. Paulo Rangel somehow managed to angled a header into the far post from a difficult angle. Khairul was left rooted on his line.
After the opening goal, there was a pattern to the game and isn’t one that is easiest on the eye. Selangor resorted to holding out what they have and managed to contain Pahang, albeit rather too easily. Smith went for the jugular and threw on attackers after attackers but there was a distinct lack of creativity from the Elephants.
Matias Conti cuts a peripheral figure up front, marshalled by the impressive Pantelidis Stilianos. Even the exciting and usually dependable, R. Gopinathan found little joy against the sturdy Bunyamin Omar at right back for Selangor. The game petered out towards the end and it is remarkable how comfortable it is for the Red Giants.
Durakovic may still need to tinker with a few positions in his team but in Rangel, he has a genuine goal scorer who can be counted to deliver the goods in front of goal. In Malaysian football, that is a prized asset.