Football can be such a cruel sport at times. The latest match that can prove that opinion right took place on Tuesday, a Malaysia Super League match between Perak and Selangor at the Perak Stadium, a match that pitted the fourth-placed team against the fifth.
The home side started out positively, capitalising on the uncharacteristically jittery Red Giants' defence in the first 15 minutes to create chances after chances. So overwhelmed were the visitors' defences, that in the first 15 minutes alone Selangor goalkeeper Norazlan Razali were forced into making three saves to save his side.
The dam however remained unbreached, and the game settled with the Bos Gaurus reducing their intensity and Selangor themselves being allowed to keep more of the ball.
And eleven minutes into the second half, the situation became worse for the visitors. Indonesian winger Andik Vermansah; one of the Red Giants' key players, was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Zaquan Adha Abdul Razak.
Enter Liberian forward Francis Forkey Doe.
Six minutes after Andik's sending off, Doe finally decided to press Perak's centre back and captain Shahrom Kalam who tried to make a cross-field pass to his left, but Doe's pressing worked and he successfully trapped the ball.
With the ball at his feet, Doe immediately sprinted past Shahrom and towards the goal, but not all the way there. Instead, Doe had spotted Perak goalkeeper Hafizul Hakim off his line, and decided to go for it.
Doe chipped the ball from the edge of the penalty area, and while Haffizul tried a backward lunge to try and keep Doe's audacious attempt out, he could not get a finger to it, and the ball sailed into the back of the net. Doe had given his team the lead, which they would retain until the final whistle.
The 1-0 win may turn out to be a pyrrhic victory in the coming few matches considering that by the final whistle, only two Selangor players who started the match ended up not getting booked, but it was a victory nonetheless. And it was one earned on the back of an unlikely piece of ingenuity by Francis Forkey Doe, a goal scored at the right moment when the Red Giants had their collective back to the wall.