BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Barely three months into his first head coaching job at a professional team, Selangor boss Nazliazmi Nasir has guided his side into the FA Cup final, after the Red Giants defeated PKNS FC 5-1 on aggregate, in their semi-final tie.
The second leg encounter at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday was a mostly drab affair which ended in a 1-1 draw with goals from Rufino Segovia (71') and Alif Haikal Sabri (90'), but no one could blame the visitors for not going all out, having come away with a comprehensive 4-0 win in the first leg one week earlier.
Speaking to the press after the match, Nazliazmi remarked on the clash.
"Praise Allah for the result," he stated. "PKNS are a good side and they forced us into making mistakes in the first 10, 20 minutes. But my men managed to settle in and keep their focus, and even added one more goal through Rufino's effort."
Although Selangor will face no player suspension next Saturday, the victory was not without its casualty. Brazilian centre back Willian Pacheco had to be stretchered off the pitch in the 69th minute after a reckless challlenge by PKNS forward Safee Sali. According to Nazliazmi, the defender's chances for a appearance in the final looks bleak.
"I haven't assessed his injury thoroughly, but his condition looks bad.
"But I hope that I am wrong, and he will be fit on July 7," remarked Nazliazmi.
However, when asked about the personal significance of their cup run to him, the former youth coach underplayed his role in it, preferring to pay tribute to the club's coaching staff and the club supporters instead.
"I didn't expect this, but the credit is not mine alone. There are others behind me; Rusdi Suparman (assistant head coach), a legend in his own right and an experienced coach himself; he helped me a lot.
"There's also our goalkeeping coach Shuhaimi Abd Hamid, who joined us from PKNS, and they all helped me in my duties.
"And not to forget, the fans as well; they remained behind us regardless of the results. I can't wait for the final match," praised Nazliazmi.