BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Selangor defeated Kelantan 2-0 in their round six Super League match on Saturday, thanks to one goal scored in each half by Brazilian winger Juliano Mineiro.
The homeside, in eighth but with a game in hand, went into the match looking to break their two-match losing streak in the league, while the fourth-placed visitors wanted to record their second straight league win, while making it a fourth consecutive win in Kota Bharu.
It took only three minutes for the first goal to be scored. A short cross from the left by Veenod Subramaniam was hit with by Mineiro's first touch inside the Kelantan penalty area, but the attempt was blocked by Kelantan custodian Khairul Fahmi Che Mat. However the rebound fell right in front of the Brazilian, who this time did not fail.
Despite the early goal, the Red Giants did not press on to maintain the momentum, only sitting back to hit back on counterattacks.
Kelantan's Mohammed Ghaddar (middle, in red) tries to dribble past Selangor players. Photo by Wawan Faiz/CSN
But Selangor head coach Maniam Pachaiappan's plan soon hit a snag, when Liberian front man Francis Doe had to be taken off for an injury in the 19th minute. Youngster Adam Nor Azlin was brought on in his place.
Adam could have doubled Selangor's lead 10 minutes after he came on when he was put through by Astafei, but his shot was masterfully kept out by Fahmi. The ensuing corner kick by Raimi Noor too could have resulted in a goal, but it only passed in front of the Kelantan goalmouth without anyone connecting with it.
In the 35th minute, the youngster kept the ball in play near the Kelantan goalline before passing it to to Astafei in the middle of the box with Fahmi beaten, but the Romanian's shot was blocked by a defender.
Adam was then put through by Astafei again in the 41st minute, but his ball control was lacking and again he was stopped by Fahmi.
Adam was then booked two minutes from the halftime whistle for a reckless tackle on Shahrul Hakim Rahim.
The halftime ended 1-0, with both sets of fans surely feeling disappointed. Kelantan made no threatening attempts towards the visitors' goalmouth, while Selangor should have led by two or three goals from all the chances they had, and missed.
Selangor's Syahmi Safari (left) tries to get past Kelantan's Qayyum Marjoni Sabil. Photo by Wawan Faiz/CSN
At the start of the second half, Kelantan boss Zahasmi Ismail brought on skipper Badhri Razi for Hasmizan Kamarodin.
Badhri almost found the equaliser in the 57th minute when the referee gave a freekick just outside the Selangor penalty area for an Ugo Ukah handball, but his freekick went slightly wide.
Instead, it was the visitors who doubled their lead in the 63rd minute, again from Mineiro. Adam laid off the Brazilian just outside the box, and he struck low into the bottom corner to beat Fahmi for the second time in the match.
Shahrul almost pulled one back for the home team minutes later when he received a pass inside the Selangor box, but Kelantan-born Rizal Fahmi Rosid made a last-ditch tackle to block his effort.
The two-goal margin sapped any motivation the homeside had to come back into the match, and the match finished 2-0.
It was the Red Giants' fourth consecutive away win over the Red Warriors, and took them to third, leapfrogging Perak on goal difference. Whereas for Kelantan, the defeat was their third consecutive defeat in the league.
Kelantan: Fahmi (GK), Qayyum, Hasmizan (Badri 46'), Danso, Shahrul, Izuan (Hattaphon 72'), Faizol, Lima, Hakim, Indra (C) (Fakhrul Zaman 66'), Ghaddar.
Selangor: Azhan (GK), Razman (C), Ukah, Rizal, Syahmi, Mineiro (Fittri 77'), Halim (Bunyamin 86'), Raimi, Astafei, Doe (Adam 19'), Veenod.