BY I.F. WONG Follow on Twitter
Selangor have been eliminated from the FA Cup in the third round for the third year in succession after losing 2-1 to PDRM at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca. Witnessed by just over two thousand spectators, the defeat also marked Selangor’s first loss of the season.
Red Giants' coach Zainal Abidin Hassan named the same line-up as the one that saw off Sarawak in midweek save Khairul Azhan who again swapped places with Norazlan Razali in goal. PDRM again called upon foreign duo Ali Ashfaq and Safuwan Baharudin to spearhead their attack.
The start of the game was generally low key with Selangor dominating possession early without creating any clear opportunities though their hot-shot Patrick Wleh was causing the Cops' defence some discomfort especially aerially.
The deadlock was broken in the 37th minute when Ashfaq’s energetic run from about 40 yards out beat Azrif Nasrulhaq and he then put Abdul Latiff Suhaimi through on goal. Latiff unselfishly squared the ball for an unmarked Nizam Rodzi to tap in. It was the fourth time in a row Selangor had gone behind in a game.
It could have been even better for PDRM when their attackers combined to force Khairul Azhan into a few smart saves just before the break.
At the start of the second half saw both teams battle in midfield without any significant action in the final thirds. Just before the hour, a Lot Abu Hassan freekick from 15 yards in the Selangor half found a free Safuwan Baharudin who gratefully headed the ball in the net for 2-0.
Shell-shocked, Zainal’s men finally came to life late in the game. Wleh used his strength to barge past the PDRM defence to pounce on a Mauro Olivi lob. The Liberian, who has an impressive one-a-game goal average thus far, somehow missed from no more than five yards.
Three minutes later, Wleh again wiggled his way through on goal but was denied PDRM’s goalkeeper Haziq Nadzli.
The Selangor marksman was not to be denied his now customary goal however. In the 87th minute, an R. Gopinathan cross from the right caused a mix-up in the PDRM defence which Wleh gathered to score.
It was too little too late for the Klang Valley team as despite pouring forward desperately looking for the leveler, the Cops held firm to advance to the quarter-finals. Selangor are left to rue yet another FA Cup failure.