BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
The match that was held at KL home ground the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium, Cheras was an eventful one, with the visitors scoring two quick goals in the 20th and the 24th minutes; thanks to Willian Pacheco and Rufino Segovia. Just minutes later the Hawks went down to 10 men following Guilherme de Paula's straight red, and Rufino made it 3-0 in injury time.
Amri Yahyah assisted all three goals and was unarguably the man of the match, but the 37-year old forward had a far bigger involvement in the clash.
After the first goal led to KL goalkeeper Kamarul Effandi Abdul Rahim getting hurt and needing treatment before the match could be restarted, Amri called his teammates to celebrate in front of the match photographers situated behind the hosts' goalline, essentially facing the home team fans.
And when the halftime whistle was blown, Fabio remonstrated with match referee Suhaizi Shukri by placing his hand on Amri's neck, essentially asking that he keep an eye on the former Malaysia international's behaviour. Amri responded to Fabio's action by dramatically falling onto the pitch, and both benches rose to their feet to confront each other. As a result, Fabio was ordered to sit in the stands for the remainder of the match, and the match then took place without further handbags.
The halftime fracas between the two teams
But in the post-match press conference, the Brazilian made his ire towards Amri's known to the reporters, speaking out against what he perceived to be the player's disrespectful behaviour in the clash.
"At halftime I went to talk to their number 17, I don't know his name, this guy must be more respectful. This is not how a football player should behave. In football one day you laugh, the next you cry. Today he laughed, but maybe tomorrow against us, against another team he'll cry.
"I always tell my players that in football you must play hard, but with respect, because who knows, in the future you may play in the same team as today's opponents. If he was on my team, I would ask the management to dock his pay!
"I told him af halftime, 'hey, play football, be more respectful' and he responded with some bad words. I approached him and touched him near his neck, just pushing him a little bit but he responded by falling," vented the former Timor Leste head coach.
Although Fabio added that Selangor as a whole did not goad his side into losing their heads, he threw down the gauntlet, saying that the tie is far from over and his team will give their rivals their hardest game of the season in the second leg.
"I know my team are better than Selangor, although you may think that this is crazy after we just lost to them for the second time this season.
"They (Selangor) shouldn't expect an easy time on April 21 (the second leg). I can't guarantee we will turn the score around, but we will fight and give them their toughest game of the year," vowed the 40-year old coach.
He reiterated his belief that his side were the better team in the derby, just like their earlier 2-0 defeat in the Super League, although this time around he admitted that goalkeeper Kamarul let the team down.
The custodian's two mistakes led to the visitors' first two goals, before he was substituted off at halftime with Khatul Anuar Jalil.
"It was a hard result for us but we still have 90 minutes left. Before conceding the first goal we were the better team. Just like in the league defeat, we simply played better than them. My goalkeeper (Kamarul) have to rectify his mistakes and I will speak to him. It was a tough game, played at 120 kilometres per hour while he was only at 10.
"We then lost control and then de Paula. But I was satisfied by the way we played in the second half, we still pushed up and created chances. That's why I'm still confident that we can turn the 3-0 scoreline around," he remarked.
Fabio however was a lot more understanding of compatriot Guilherme, who was given his marching orders for physically retaliating against Selangor midfielder Halim Zainal, after the Red Giants the second goal.
Although he declined to criticise the quality of refereeing in the match, Fabio suggested that referee Suhaizi should have taken sterner actions early in the game in order to stop tempers from flaring up.
"He (Guilherme) knows he has made a mistake. He already spoke to me and apologised, I will not blame him for the defeat. In the beginning the referee let the match get out of hand. Both sides committed fouls and the game became tense.
"He should have reined it in a bit more and given one or two bookings, just to ensure that the players toe the line," he suggested.
But thankfully the presser ended in a more jocular mood, thanks to a timely question by a journalist regarding former Brazil and Barcelona star Ronaldinho, who is currently in Malaysia on a UEFA Champions League promotional tour.
Ronaldinho in the city of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday
The journalist sheepishly told Fabio that Ronaldinho had earlier during the day expressed his interest in playing for a Malaysian club, even without pay, and asked whether the coach would consider signing the former World Cup winner. Fabio gamely responded, with a laugh:
"He is one of the greatest players in the world and he is Brazilian too, so it would be amazing if he were to play in Malaysia. But he is already retired so I have to ask whether he still has the motivation to train again, or he just wants to enjoy life here because he has made fantastic money during his playing days."