A Paulo Rangel brace proved to be the difference between the two sides as the Red Giants collected the Sultan of Selangor’s Cup for the third year running
Rangel struck on either side of Leonel Felice’s brilliant equaliser to help the Selangor Selection edge past the Singapore Selection 2-1 in front of a near full-house crowd at the Shah Alam Stadium.
Felice’s 68th-minute freekick had cancelled out the Brazilian’s penalty on the stroke of half time, but the latter had the last laugh by slotting home the winner on 80 minutes.
It was a cruel ending for the Singapore Selection who had to battle back from a poor first half which saw them go both a goal and a man down.
There was little creativity going forward in the first 45 as Amin Nasir’s men struggled to carve out chances against a strong Selangor defence led by Steve Pantelidis. The closest they came to threatening Farizal Marlias’s goal was a superb run into the box by Geison Moura, which was ultimately halted.
At the back, they were kept busy by Selangor’s pace on the attack. Speedy attackers Andik Vermansyah and S Kunalan took their turns to run at the Singapore defence, earning a number of good free kicks in the process.
While shaky at times, the defence marshalled by Igor Cerina and Wahyudi Wahid coped with the threat of Rangel considerably well and limited him to half-chances.
Ahmad Hazwan Bakri then found himself on the clear on 35 minutes, but was foiled by a well-timed Wahyudi block.
However the Singapore Selection was unable to hold on till half time. Ridhuan Muhammad was adjudged to have fouled Rangel inside the box and the latter dusted himself up to dispatch his penalty low past Fadhil Salim.
Things turned from bad to worse a minute later as left-back Hafiz Sujad was dismissed for a second bookable offence, following his late challenge on Kunalan.
Those setbacks did little to deter the Singapore Selection’s quest to reclaim the trophy though.
Amin threw on Felice after the break and that proved to be an inspiring move.
The Argentinian’s imposing presence and hold-up play meant the Singapore Selection enjoyed more space in the attacking third.
Just minutes after his introduction, he found himself in the clear after Shunsuke Nakatake’s incisive through ball but his resulting shot was parried by Farizal.
His hard work eventually paid off on 68 minutes when he lured Pantelidis into conceding a foul just outside the box.
The Geylang International forward stepped up and duly curled a brilliant effort over the wall and beyond the reach of a stunned Farizal.
It was a well-deserved equalizer as the Singapore Selection went in search of an unlikely winner. However they were dealt with a hammer blow 10 minutes from time.
A ball chipped into the box caught the Singapore defence sleeping, as Rangel forced a save from Fadhil before slotting home his second bite of the cherry.
That proved to be the decisive goal as the Selangor Selection held on to win 2-1 and pick up the Cup for the third successive year.
Meanwhile in the earlier game, the Selangor Veterans and the Singapore Veterans shared the spoils after playing out a 1-all draw.
Annuar Abu Bakar opened the scoring for the Red Giants on six minutes, but Steven Tan levelled matters just before the first half through an emphatic penalty after Fandi Ahmad was brought down inside the box.
Singapore Selection: Fadhil Salim (GK, captain); Faizal Amir (Emmeric Ong 90’), Wahyudi Wahid, Igor Cerina (Shahril Alias 79’), Hafiz Sujad; Ridhuan Muhammad (Faris Azienuddin 87’), Shunsuke Nakatake, Aqhari Abdullah (Fabian Kwok 87’), Hafiz Nor (Fazli Jaafar 46’); Sufian Anuar (Kazuya Okazaki 79’), Geison Moura (Leonel Felice 46’)
Red Card – Hafiz Sujad 45’