PETALING JAYA, Nov 17 — Thirty-three times (33) Malaysia Cup winners Selangor FC rolled back the years with a vintage performance, by coming from behind to score a convincing 3-1 win over high-riding Terengganu FC in the first leg semifinal of the Malaysia Cup at the Petaling Jaya City Council Stadium, here last night.
The loss to Selangor not only dealt a blow to their pride as well as Malaysia Cup hopes, but it also ended a run of nine consecutive wins while coincidentally the win was Selangor’s ninth since former national coach Tan Cheng Hoe took over the ailing team in September.
In the match that featured both teams for the second time at the semifinal stage of the Malaysia Cup (first in 2011), Terengganu FC took the early initiative by launching a series of attacks which resulted in a freekick that was powered in by skipper Tchetche Kipre, beating Selangor custodian Mohd Khairulazhan Mohd Khalid in the 19th minute.
Riding on the momentum, three minutes later Terengganu, under coach Mohd Nafuzi Mohd Zain, had a golden opportunity to increase the lead but Mohamad Faisal Abdul Halim’s defence-splitting pass into the box from the right was missed by lethal striker Kpah Sherman before Mohd Khairulazhan gladly cleared the ball.
Mohd Khairulazhan was again called into action when he saved a close attempt by Manuel Ott and the close calls proved costly for Terengganu FC in the 37th minute when Selangor’s towering defender Richmond Tetteh Ankrah headed in a corner from Muhammad Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi to equalise.
The goal proved to be just the tonic that Selangor needed for inspiration as the host piled on the pressure and four minutes later Terengganu goalkeeper Suhaimi Husin was once again beaten when Selangor’s sensational striker Herlison Caion De Souza Ferreira sneaked in to head home a corner kick taken by Muhammad Mukhairi.
With Herlison’s strike, his fifth goal in the Malaysia Cup campaign, Selangor went into the dressing room with a 2-1 lead.
However, despite coming back from the break, Selangor’s momentum continued and only nine minutes into the second half (54th minute), the score was 3-1, courtesy of three corners taken by the same kicker but scored by different players, all through headers.
This time it was defender Sharul Nazeem Zulpakar who headed in Muhammad Mukhairi’s corner kick.
Terengganu, who clinched the Malaysia Cup in 2001 and emerged as runnerup in 2018, will have a mountain to climb when both teams meet in their second leg semifinal at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Gong Badak on November 21.