BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
After seeing his side produce a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) in their Super League match on Saturday, Selangor head coach Maniam Pachaiappan credited Indonesia international Andik Vermansah for taking the risk to come on in the match and eventually scoring the winner, despite struggling with a slight injury that has been troubling him.
Andik's condition had been in doubt for the past two weeks, and the winger has not played the full 90 minutes. Against JDT at the Selayang Municipal Council Stadium, the 25-year old replaced Saiful Ridzuwan Selamat in the 71st minute and scored the winner just six minutes later, latching onto a long pass by Namathevan Arunasalam before shooting from the edge of the box.
Natxio Insa had earlier opened the scoring for the visitors with a stunning long-range strike in the 39th minute, before former JDT man Amri Yahyah levelled the score in the 59th minute.
Selangor vs JDT match highlights
Maniam told the press after the match that the Indonesian told him that he had something to prove.
"Andik told me that he wanted to play for 30 minutes and that he wanted to prove something.
"I put him on and he managed to score the winning goal, it was brilliant to see him delivering for Selangor," said Maniam in the post-match press conference.
Andik, who was also in the presser, said that the slight injury that had troubled him before did not flare up before the match, and he decided to take a chance.
"Praise God, everyone worked hard tonight, from the goalkeeper to the forwards. I had told the coach that I could play as the discomfort had subsided.
"Previously when I warmed up I could feel it, but tonight I did not feel it when warming up. So I told the coach that I am ready to play whenever he wants me to.
"I'm just happy that we win and that I got on the scoresheet," said Andik.
Maniam also praised the role played by young winger Syahmi Safari, for his role in their equaliser. Amri's goal came after he received a quick throw-in taken by the Malaysia U22 international, who noticed the veteran forward running into space.
"We scored the first goal because of his intelligence. He sent the throw-in very quickly to Amri, and it is this kind of intelligence that we need at this level.
"Syahmi used his intelligence and the space to create the goal, not Amri," praised the trainer.
The post-match interview with Maniam and Andik
The result meant that JDT have not defeated Selangor at all this season, out of three encounters.
But although the Red Giants came away with the win, it was the visitors who had a bigger cause for celebration. Despite losing, the Southern Tigers ended the night as the Super League champions for the fourth consecutive time with three matches to spare, after second-placed Kedah lost 2-1 to Pahang.