Having dominated the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent days, Selangor started their post-Zainal Abidin Hassan era with a 3-0 home win over Pahang in the Malaysia Cup, while Kelantan became the first team to reach the last eight.
A hat-trick by Liberian international Patrick Wleh helped P. Gunalan end his first match as Selangor caretaker coach with a 3-0 win over Pahang on Tuesday – the Red Giants’ first victory in five games.
Selangor now have three points of breathing space from Kuala Lumpur and Pahang
Selangor, who sacked Zainal for unsatisfactory results on Sunday, started without imports Mauro Olivi and Ugo Ukah but did not feel the duo’s absence in Shah Alam and the hosts were already two goals up when Gunalan made his first change in the 78th minute.
Wleh scored from the spot to give Selangor a first-half lead before scoring his second and third goals in the 66th and 81st minutes respectively.
Although it was Selangor’s first win in three weeks, it felt like a second triumph in as many days for fans after Football Association of Selangor (FAS) general secretary Rosman Ibrahim and treasurer Datuk S. Sivasundram resigned on Monday following calls of a revamp by association president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
Selangor fans have demanded the resignation of the duo for various reasons over the past few years.
Azmin has also promised to shake up the football structure in the state and privatise the Red Giants.
Team manager Amirudin Shari and assistant Nor Hisham Ghouth, however, appear to have escaped the axe.
Selangor are still in second in Group B of the competition following Tuesday’s win, but now have three points of breathing space from Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Pahang.
Kelantan, who defeated KL 1-0 in Selayang, are on top with 10 points and have an unassailable seven-point lead over KL and Pahang.
Also in a comfortable position are Kedah in Group A after their 3-2 win over Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) II at Pasir Gudang Stadium.
The Red Eagles are top of the group with 10 points, followed by T-Team (seven points), JDT II (three) and Sarawak (one).
Felda United and Negri Sembilan, who recorded wins against Malacca and Terengganu respectively in Group D, only need a draw this weekend to progress to the knockout stages.
Perak can be the second team to reach the last eight if they emerge with three points against JDT at Larkin Stadium, a result that will also put PDRM through if they defeat PKNS in the other Group C match on Wednesday.
JDT II 2 Kedah 3
T-Team 3 Sarawak 0
KL 0 Kelantan 1
Selangor 3 Pahang 0
Felda 2 Malacca 1
Negri 1 Terengganu 0
Main Photo: Selangorcomments