The Brazilian ace was once again was at his clinical best to condemn reigning Malaysia Cup champions Pahang FA to their second consecutive 1-0 league defeat.
Selangor FA and Pahang Fa 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 eleven, while Ronald Smith had to make changes to his midfield as he slotted right-back Saiful Nizam into a 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, team-mate Azamuddin Akil was in the way and since contact with the ball was made, it was an easy offside decision for the assistant referee.
Juninho then 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 it bounced. Luckily for Rehman, Juninho'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 that 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 had lapsed when the deadlock was broken. Juninho’s initial corner 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, with Khairul rooted on his line.
After the opening goal, there was a pattern to the game and it was not one that was easy 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 attacker after attacker, but there was a distinct lack of creativity from the Elephants.
Matias Conti cut 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 was remarkable how comfortable it was 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.