Pahang did everything right tonight at the Darul Makmur Stadium against Selangor, but score.Whether Pahang is going to regret letting Selangor off the hook will be known in the return leg semifinals on Sunday at the Shah Alam.
Selangor certainly return home with advantage on their side, while it is going to be uphill task for defending champions Pahang.
While Pahang managed to seal their leak in the defence which has been a cause of concern in earlier matches, tonight the strikeforce was a letdown
While credit must be given to Selangor goalkeeper Norazlan Razali for keeping his team in the game with his numerous saves, Pahang have no excuse not have scored.
While Pahang should have returned for the breather with at least two goals, they should have also taken the lead on resumption with Azamuddin Akil, Conti Matias and Zesh Rahman missing golden opportunities in the first half.
In the end, Pahang can thank their lucky stars that they did not concede thanks to poor finishing by Selangor’s substitute S. Veenod who blew away two one-to-one chances during the closing stages.
It was no different in the first half.
Call it unlucky or wasted, Pahang at least should have went to the dressing for the breather with at least two goals in their bag.
While the match started with both teams have an even share, but after fifteen minutes it was Pahang who were virtually camping in the 32 times Malaysia Cup winners’ half.
The strikeforce led by Dickson Nwakaeme were a constant menace to the Selangor defence and it was only some fine performance by their goalkeeper Norazlan that kept them in the game.
Nwakaeme despite being closely marked by Selangor skipper Muhd Sharom and Leandro Dos Santos still proved to be a handful.
At time Nwakaeme was frustrated with referee Syed Azhar Syed Kamar who kept hauling him up for his physical approach was shown the yellow card in the 31st minute.
Selangor only had one early chance as early as the third minute when Guherme De Paula’s attempt was a close shave.
Pahang had four corners as opposed to Selangor’s one.
Hafiz Kamal’s left footed half volley which hit the crossbar in the closing stages, while Zeshan Rehman, Gopinathan, Azamuddin Mohd Akil, Matias Ruben Conti and Dickson Nwakaeme all had chances to put their team in the lead.
While Selangor must have returned to the dressing room relived that they did not concede any goals, Pahang must have surely got an earful from coach Zainal Abidin Hassan for their charitable gesture.?
Coach: Zainal Abidin Hassan
Team Manager: Datuk Che Nasir Salleh
1 Mohd Khairul Azhan (GK)
3 Mohd Saiful Nizam
4 Daimion Delano Stewart (capt)
6 Zeshan Rehman
12 Azamuddin Mohd Akil
9 Matias Ruben Conti
10 Dickson Nwakaeme
20 Mohd Sharizan
21 Mohd Hafiq Kamal
41 Mathew Thomas Davies
23 Md Nasril (Gk)
15 D. Saaaavindran
14 Mohd Faizal
7 R. Surendran
13 Mohd Razman
25 Md Rizua Shafiq Kamaruddin
37 Muhd Ashar Al Aafiz
22 Norazlan Razali (Gk)
2 Robert Cornthwaite
5 Muhd Sharom (Capt)
7 Andik Vermansah
8 Leandro Dos Santos
10 Muhd Nazmi Faiz
11 Ahmd Hazwan
13 Guherme De Paula
15 Mohd Raimi
19 Muhammad Afiq Azmi
20 Mohd Azrif Nasrulhaq
21 Md Hamsani (Gk)
3 Mohd Azmi Muslim
14 Abdul Hadi Yahaya
17 Mohd Rizal Fahmi
23 S. Veenod
24 Mohd Fittri Shazwan
25 K. Gurusamy
Referee: Syed Azhar Syed Kamar
Assistant Referee 1: Mohd Shahreen
Assistant Referee 2: Ismadi Ibrahim
Fourth official: Zulkarnain Zakaria
Match Commissioner: Shahrin Ismail
Referee Assessor: Othman Omar