AFC Cup Talking Points from Selangor's loss to Tampines

Zainal Abidin Hassan made seven changes to Selangor’s line-up, citing fatigue, but it didn't prevent the Red Giants slumping to a second successive loss. Vijhay Vick pens several observations.

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Tactical changes

Only one team looked prepared to tactically outwit their opponents at Selayang Stadium and it was certainly the visitors.

Zainal made a host of changes after noticing his side was tired from the FA Cup loss to PDRM on Friday. However, there were very few tactical changes, as the personnel alterations made were like-for-like. Without Nazmi Faiz Mansor, Selangor lost the engine room battle as his replacement Saiful Riduwan Selamat barely offered Tampines duo Yasir Hanapi and Hafiz Sujad a challenge, leaving midfield partner Hafiz Kamal to fend on his own more often than not.

Tampines coach V. Sundramoorthy, on the other hand, switched from a regular back four to three centre-backs, with Fabian Kwok and Irwan Shah playing as wing-backs.

The move paid off as Selangor’s star striker Patrick Wleh, who tops the Malaysia Super League (MSL) goal scoring charts with five goal, found life difficult at the top. Tampines goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud was never really put to the test.

Quiet flanks … again

For the second AFC Cup game running, Selangor weren’t a threat on the wings until R. Gopinathan was brought on at half-time, a move that forced Sundramoorthy to replace right wing-back Fabian Kwok with fresh legs and experience in Ismadi Mukhtar.

READ ALSO: Selangor’s AFC Cup escape against Ceres

Andik Vermansyah started after missing the previous two games but looked a shadow of his usual self. Argentine striker Mauro Olivi was played out of position on the right-wing and failed to provide much of a threat. The wingers even switched sides several times in the first-half but it resulted in no change.

Only Gopinanthan's introduction spiced the flanks