BY I.F. WONG Follow on Twitter
Adam Nor Azlin came to Selangor’s rescue as the Red Giants edged out the first Klang Valley Derby in 4 years by a single goal to give the defending Malaysia Cup Champions a winning start after a month long Ramadhan break.
Zainal Abidin Hassan started with the controversial Azrif Nasrulhaq and new signing Ugo Ukah in an otherwise rather familiar starting eleven for the Red Giants. Kuala Lumpur fielded a full complement of their new foreign legion in a bid to put one over their illustrious neighbours.
The first half was largely forgettable. The only meaningful piece of action in the first period came in the 19th minute when Indonesian Andik Vermansah found himself free on the left flank and laid an inviting opportunity for Hazwan Bakri who pulled his shot wide from 10 yards.
Goalless at halftime and it couldn’t possibly be any worse in the second half.
Ukah, brought in to replace Aussie Robert Cornthwaite at the heart of the Selangor defence, showed genuine pace and authority in the home side’s backline and came close to scoring a debut goal in the 62nd minute. From a corner, the Nigerian powered a goal bound header which appeared to hit a Kuala Lumpur defender’s arm as the ball bounced off the line but neither the referee nor the linesman spotted it.
Andik later saw his shot saved by keeper Badrul Zaman before a desperate Zainal threw on R. Gopinathan, Hafiz Kamal and Adam Nor Azlin late in the match in search of the winning goal. The latter secured the points for the Red Giants with virtually his first touch – slamming the ball to the roof of the net after a penalty area scramble 3 minutes from the end.
It was a hugely disappointing match but Selangor fans won’t mind a positive start to their Malaysia Cup defence.
Patrick Wleh, Andik Vermansah, Nazmi Faiz, Hazwan Bakri, Razman Roslan, Raimi Md Nor, Mauro Olivi, Ugo Ukah, Azrif Nasrulhaq, Norazlan Razali, S. Veenod.
Kuala Lumpur :
L. Moriera, Fahrul Razi, Konte Modiro, Rashid Aya, Helmi Remeli, Badrul Zaman, Hafiz Johar, Irfan Zakaria, Nazri Ahmad, J. Viviana, D. Mellao.