BY I.F. WONG Follow on Twitter
Selangor edged Bangladeshi side Sheikh Jamal by the odd goal in three with a late Patrick Wleh winner in the AFC Cup group stage tie at the Selayang Municipal Stadium. But not before making heavy weather of their lowly opponents.
Selangor coach Zainal Abidin Hassan dropped Argentine Mauro Olivi after a dressing brawl with team mate Hafiz Kamal after the defeat to Felda last week and Hazwan Bakri took his position alongside Patrick Wleh upfront. Azmi Muslim started at left back and Khairul Azhan replaces Norazlan Razali in goal.
Sheikh Jamal brought only 14 players to Malaysia but Shafiqul Manik was able to field their three dangerous foreigners Landing Darboe, Emeka Onuoha and Wedson Anselma who caused the Malaysian side all sorts of problems in the reverse fixture in Bangladesh.
The early minutes were low key with neither team able to dominate the play. Things came to life after a good move by Andik Vermansah on the right flank on 18 minutes before feeding Hazwan who slotted the ball in to give the Red Giants the lead.
Selangor took charge of the game after the goal with Hazwan, substitute Adam Nor Azlin and Wleh missing easy chances to add to the lead.
The home side were made to pay for the missed opportunities as a cross from the right caused chaos in the Selangor penalty box after the half hour. The ball found its way to Darboe whose shot was too firm for Khairul Azhan to keep out and the score was level.
Hafiz saw his long ranger saved by Mostaq in the Sheikh Jamal goal while Wedson, a menace all first half, nearly took advantage of a mix up between Khairul and Azrif Nasrulhaq just before the break but the score stayed level at half time.
The tale of the second half was centred on two red cards. First Hafiz Kamal threw an elbow at Jamal Bhuyan which did not make contact but the referee gave him the marching orders. Fifteen minutes later the teams were level player-wise when Yeasin Khan fouled Andik for his second yellow card of the game.
The home side poured forward in search of the winner in the final minutes and after Andik, Wleh and Adam did not convert further chances, it looked like it was not going to be Selangor’s night.
Right at the death, however, a through ball by Adam sent Wleh, who was having a lethargic game, facing Mostaq and the Liberian finished with aplomb to secure the points.
Zainal, under increasing pressure, can breathe again but by all accounts, it was a poor display again by Selangor against a very limited Sheikh Jamal side.
With Ceres beating Tampines in the other fixture in the group, the victory for the Red Giants has set up a mouth-watering final two games.
Khairul Azhan, Shahrom Kalam, Azrif Nasrulhaq, Azmi Muslim, Robert Cornthwaite, Nazmi Faiz Mansor (Saiful Ridzuan Selamat 72nd), Hafiz Kamal, Andik Vermansah, R. Gopinathan( Adam Nor Azlin 30th), Hazwan Bakri, Patrick Wleh.
Sheikh Jamal line-up:
Topu Barman, Kasto Kumar, Mohd Linkon, Landing Darboe, Emeka Onuoha, Wedson Anselmae, Enamul Haque, Jamal Bhuyan, Yeasin Khan, Mustaq Maksudur, Ansur Alam.