Selangor steadied their nerves despite losing Paulo Rangel to a red card, to gain 3 precious away points against Terengganu
BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Third-placed Terengganu played league leaders Selangor at home earlier in Kuala Terengganu. The two were separated by five points, and both teams needed to win to either keep the distance, or overtake, second-placed JDT in second.
Manaf Mamat found himself lightly marked in the Selangor penalty box in the fourth minute after he had shaken off Azmi Muslim, but Selangor goalkeeper Farizal Marlias correctly guessed the direction of his low shot.Apart from the attempt, both teams spent the first 20 minutes just teasing each other's danger area, and the fans were made to wait for a goal.
In the 25th minute, Selangor forward Rangel released former Terengganu player Abdul Hadi Yahya with a through pass, but Hadi had already been flagged offside by the assistant.
In the 27th minute, Zairo Anuar tried from a freekick, but Farizal again was there to keep it out.
10 minutes before halftime, Manaf sent in a cross from the right, and former Malaysia international Ashaari Shamsuddin lowered his head to nod the cross first. Again, Farizal stood between Selangor and conceding.
Three minutes later, Indonesian winger Andik Vermansyah twisted and turned before sending in a cross from the left, but Rangel's header was weak and was easily gathered by the Turtles keeper, Sharbinee Alwi.
As the first half was about to end and a defender Mazlizam Mohamad was sprawled on the pitch, Abdul Hadi sent in a cross which was headed in by Paulo Rangel, much to the relief of the travelling away fans. But their relief was short-lived. As Rangel came back to the halfway line for the resumption of the match and the halftime whistle, he was sent off by the referee Nafeez Abdul Wahab, much to the bewilderment of Rangel and the whole Selangor bench.
However replays showed that Rangel had been involved in flooring Mazlizam in the run up to the goal. Rangel had to be pulled away from the ref as he was led into the tunnel later, but Selangor should count themselves lucky that the goal still counted.
But Terengganu did not help themselves with the one-man advantage. Just one minute into the second half, Andik was brought down in the box. Hadi made no mistake and made it 2-0.
Luckily for the home side, they found an instant equaliser just moments later. Following a goalmouth melee, Moustapha Dabo found the ball at his feet, and struck it past Farizal. The match was far from over.
In the 65th minute, Azlan Zainal struck from the edge of the visitors' box, but his attempt went over the bar instead.
13 minutes later it was Mario Karlovic's turn with a similar chance, but again it went over the bar.
Three minutes before the end of regulation time, Zairo took a quick free kick , which was easily despatched by Farizal.
Terengganu would be made to rue the miss however. The ensuing kick by him was received midfielder S. Veenod. Despite having played since the start of the match, he sprinted the fastest to beat his markers, before shooting over Sharbinee's shoulders.
Perhaps sensing that JDT had the superior goal count, Selangor added another just before the death. Fitri Syazwan who replaced Andik moments earlier, found himself with the ball with minimal marking by the home side players who were pressing way high up to overturn the result. He sent a through pass to Veenod, and Veenod unselfishly released the ball to S Kunanlan on his right past the onrushing keeper. Kuna duly made it 4-1.
The whistle was blown soon, and the three points meant Selangor stayed in first despite JDT's 3-0 win over Sime Darby.