Selangor grabbed a dramatic late winner in a 2-1 victory over Sheikh Jamal in their AFC Cup clash at Selayang Stadium to blow open Group E and ease some of the pressure on coach Zainal Abidin Hassan.
I have to praise the mentality of my players. They showed how much they wanted a win
Philippines' Ceres top Group E with eight points after defeating Tampines 2-1 in Bacolod earlier on Tuesday.
The Singaporean side has seven points while Selangor, who survived a straight red card to midfielder Hafiz Kamal in the second half, are in third on goal difference.
Sheikh Jamal had lost all four matches in their AFC Cup debut campaign, but it looked like they were going to frustrate Selangor's frontline until Wleh – the Malaysia Super League leading goal scorer – ensured maximum points.
"It is a big relief to collect three points. This means we are still in the competition and can fight until the end," said Zainal.
"The sending off made things difficult but we managed to adapt. I have to praise the mentality of my players. They showed how much they wanted a win and didn't give up.
"We created a lot of chances but couldn't tuck it in. Some of the inexperienced lads, I mean not used to finding the back of the net, must learn from their misses."
Ahmad Hazwan Bakri put Selangor ahead in the 16th minute after being put through by Andik Vermansyah.
The Red Giants appeared to have the upper hand, but R. Gopinathan's hamstring injury at the half-hour mark unsettled the hosts, allowing Landing Darboe to equalise in the 35th minute.
Hafiz Kamal then received a straight red card for nudging Jamal Bhuyan as he attempted to take a quick free-kick in the 57th minute.
The card surprised many, including Zainal, who insisted he saw nothing wrong with the incident.
The visitors also went a man down after Yeasin Khan felled Andik Vermansyah as the Indonesian winger was about to break free of the defence in the 69th minute.
Six minutes later Andik had a goal ruled out before Wleh’s effort hit the back of the net in the dying minutes.
Selangor host Ceres in their next match on April 26 before rounding out the group stage with an away trip to Tampines.
Photo: Lagardère Sports