The Selangor hitman haunts his former team with the decisive goal in an action-packed encounter
BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
The second round of the Malaysian Super League 2014 for Selangor starts with them hosting Perak at Shah Alam Stadium. The two teams met in the reverse fixture just a week ago that was settled by a solitary Paulo Rangel penalty goal. The corresponding match last season ended 1-1, a result that will suit neither side in their respective cause; one in their title chase, the other to battle against relegation.
Mehmet Durakovic faced an injury crisis with regards to his midfield and had to select Shukur Jusoh and Hadi Yahya in midfield as K. Gurusamy and S. Veenod are both absent from the squad. The Australian coach even had to push Steve Pantelidis into midfield with Evaldo Silva slotting in at the back. Meanwhile, Abu Bakar Fadzim is able to field newly signed, Abdulafees Abdulsalam in attack.
It didn’t take long for the home side to get ahead when Kyaw Zayar Win lost the ball in midfield and Rangel drove forward with dangerous intent. The Brazilian striker needed no second invitation and his shot rifled into the top corner. Going down a goal behind with just 8 minutes played is not within Abu Bakar’s plan as his team struggled to keep hold of possession.
Selangor had a chance to double their lead in the 22nd minute, when Thamil Arasu broke through and managed to square the ball to Rangel but Syazwan Roslan’s last minute challenge did just enough to put off Rangel. Perak’s best chance came from a counter attack from Selangor corner kick. The quick-fire raid forward saw Nasir Basharuddin presented with the chance to shoot and his shot sailed just over the bar.
With everything seemingly going smoothly for the Red Giants, events close to half time turned the tide in favour of the away side. Evaldo rose high to challenge with Zayar Win and looks to have connected with his elbow first on the Burmese. The referee Zulkifli Ahmad showed Evaldo the yellow card only to change his mind after seeing the extent of Zayar Win’s injury. The yellow was switched to red and that decision incensed Durakovic, who remonstrated with the referee after the half time whistle was blown.
The expected onslaught in the second half from Perak never came. Tactically, Abu Bakar pushed his midfielders closer to Abdulafees, with Raffi manning the area just in front of the defence. However, the passes from the defences to wide areas were not good enough to trouble Selangor.
Rangel was left isolated up front with the home side defending in numbers. To his credit, Rangel tried to take on the entire Perak defence, at times up against 3 players and still managed to earn free kicks off them. His strike partner from the start, Thamil, was forced to drop into midfield to help out with his team.
Then in the 65th minute, Perak shot themselves in the foot. Raffi clattered into Fitri Shazwan unnecessarily near the halfway line to earn himself an early bath. The referee had no choice but to show Raffi his second yellow card of the game after being booked in the first half. That meant it was down to just 10 versus 10 for the balance 25 minutes of the match.
Durakovic shored up his defence by bringing on Shahrom Kalam while Perak went for broke by bringing on Hardi Jaafar for right back Tuah Iskandar. Ridzuan constantly became Perak’s only attacking outlet down on the right. Which Selangor countered by bringing on Raimi Nor to give extra protection to Azmi Muslim.
In the end, the score match that of a week ago, with Selangor coming out on top yet again. Durakovic will no doubt be pleased that his charges stood firm despite going a man down early on. As for the fans of Bos Gaurus, it is another defeat that will give no help to their chances of surviving the drop. Just like last week, Rangel is the only name on the scoresheet.