Negeri Sembilan 0-0 Selangor: Toothless sides share the spoils in bore draw
Red Giants showed how much they missed the injured Forkey Doe after drawing against bottom-placed Deers
By Zulhilmi Zainal
Both teams went into the match with different sets of problems. The Red Giants are missing their lethal forward Forkey Doe for around one month from an injury, whereas the home team have not won any of their league matches this season and are currently rooted to the bottom spot in the standings.
The Deers were the first to produce a significant attack, two to be exact. Two successive attacks from Eddy Helmi and William Modibo in the 10th minute almost gave them a confidence-boosting early lead, but they were thwarted by the on-form goalkeeper Norazlan Ismail each time.
Three minutes later Asraruddin Putra produced a dangerous-looking curling shot that went just wide.
The match then continued at a brisk pace, with both teams eager to attack and draw the first blood.
In the 19th minute, Amri Yahyah fed Shukor Jusoh a deceptive pass. He tried circling the Negeri goalkeeper Hamsani Ahmad, but couldn’t and dropped down to the floor, insisting that a contact had been made. He was booked instead by the referee for simulation.
In the 25th minute, a short cross from Amri found Shukor again, but his header was too weak and too close to the goalkeeper.
In their eagerness to attack, Selangor’s defence almost got caught out. Eight minutes later, Asraruddin tried shielding a stray pass so it could be picked up by the goalkeeper, but found himself being nudged aside by a Negeri striker instead. Luckily the ball was already near Norazlan for him to pick up.
Amri Yahya who was missing his strike partner, had to pick up the pace and almost did so with two quick attempts. But his first went wide, and his second went straight into the keeper’s arms.
That in fact is the story of the first half, with the two top strikers for both teams unable to make good on their chances. Amri, despite making intelligent runs into the box, was unable to complete them with a goal. Negeri’s new signing Fabio Barbosa, despite scoring in his debut against Lions XII last weekend, looked forlorn and lethargic in this match. He rarely threatened the Selangor defence, and had to be taken off just before halftime for an injury.
Negeri almost scored immediately after the second half began from a Shakir Ali shot from the edge of the box. Norazlan was already beaten, but the strike hit the crossbar.
In the 55th minute, Nazrin Ali did well to steamroller past Selangor defenders. He was left only the keeper to beat, but his strike went wildly wide.
Amri had the chance just minutes later to make it 1 – 0, but he couldn’t connect well with a well-taken early low cross by Mahali Jasuli.
Eddy was substituted off later, and the fans were entertained to the comical sight of Selangor defender Bunyamin Omar, who had been playing with a bandage around his head for a knock sustained before the match, borrowing Eddy’s trademark protective headgear before the Negeri player went off.
In the 65th minute, an awkwardly-taken clearance resulted in an injury to Norazlan, who had to be substituted for Sharbinee Alawi, a situation that must be alarming to the Selangor camp.
Just minutes later, a Negeri corner kick dropped to Modibo, but his tap in went over the bar instead.
The pace of the match subsided 15 minutes from time, with lethargy setting in on both teams.
Selangor winger Fitri Syazwan had a chance to score for the first time since coming back from injury, having evaded his marker in the 84th minute. But his curling kick went just over the bar.
Negeri Sembilan’s hope to mount a serious challenge in this match was dashed just a minute later when Shakir Ali was booked for a foul on Bunyamin. His reaction to the decision earned him a second yellow, and the Deers were down to 10 men, five minutes from the end of regulation time.
Selangor however failed to capitalise on their advantage, and when the final whistle was blown, the final scoreline remained 0-0, despite some fans claiming that the extra four minutes had not actually expired.
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