Key Battles: Selangor vs Arema

Goal explores who will decide the outcome of the AFC Cup match between Selangor and Arema this Tuesday

GOALBY    ZULHILMI ZAINAL     Follow on Twitter


The Selangor captain must rally his defence against Arema, much better than what transpired in their last match; against JDT I two Saturdays ago. The Southern Tigers simply exposed how leaky their defence can be, and against the Crazy Lions Selangor need to be tighter defensively.

One man that the Red Giants' defence need to worry about is their striker; Cristiano Gonzales. The former Indonesia national team striker, despite approaching the age of 39, is his team's most prolific scorer this season, having scored eight goals in all competitions. On top of that, it isn't just him that Bunyamin and co. need to focus on. Arema's other striker, Alberto Gonçalves, with seven goals this season, is also as lethal as Gonzales.


The AFC Cup will definitely see Selangor's AFC-slot import finally getting his first start of the season, due to the limitation on the number of foreign players that can be fielded by each team in domestic matches. Selangor fans have been perplexed by head coach Mehmet Durakovic's reluctance to feature him more often, and Andik was even reported to have been dropped from the Indonesia national team due to his lack of first team action. And what better way for the former Persebaya man to regain a more regular spot at Selangor, than to do battle against his former team's eternal rivals at the continental stage.

Durakovic's Red Giants have been criticised for being too predictable this season, and for being too reliant on Paulo Rangel for the goals. Perhaps when the 23-year old winger is featured this Tuesday, he will introduce an element of surprise into the home side's tactics, that is needed to defeat a team that is a lot better than them on paper.

The Arema captain must command the middle of the park well against Selangor. The home side's midfield are quite capable of ensuring the supply of the ball to the final third, at least on their good days, but one dangerous Selangor midfielder that needs to be stopped most urgently is the other Brazilian in the squad; the diminutive Junior Aparecido. Bustomi needs to make sure that his teammates play Junior out of the park, and the ball will not get to his compatriot; Rangel.


For good or for bad, Rangel is the difference between a win and a loss for Selangor. He has played well this season, but against Tuesday's visitors, he must play better than he ever has this season. Of course he needs to score, but with the very likely inclusion of another attacking option in Andik in this match, if things do not go his way and he is marked a little too closely, he should look into turning supplier for the Indonesian. After all, Andik should be familiar with Arema through his time in Indonesian football.

The young goalkeeper and his defence have been almost water tight this season, having let in only three goals in the last eight matches. Their 2014 AFC Cup opener against Selangor should not be a tricky encounter, at least in the defensive and goalkeeping departments.