Issey inspires Terengganu’s win over sorry Selangor
If defeats against PDRM in the FA Cup and Tampines Rovers in the AFC Cup did not raise alarm bells, surely Terengganu’s comprehensive 3-1 win over the Red Giants will leave Selangor coach Zainal Abidin Hassan rethinking his strategies.
The loss sees Selangor drop to second in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) table on goal difference despite new leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) only taking the field on Sunday. The two clubs are on ten points while Felda United, who play struggling Pahang on Saturday, have nine points.
Terengganu, meanwhile, moved up to fourth with nine points but could drop back to fifth if Kedah defeat Sarawak in Kuching.
Having rested a number of key players in Asia, Selangor fielded a near full squad with the only absentees being injured duo Robert Cornthwaite and Ahmad Hazwan Bakri.
Yet the Turtles had a field day and it was really a surprise they had not finished off Selangor in the first-half itself. The influential Nakajima-Farran showed Terengganu what they had missed since he got injured last month.
The Canadian scored the opener from outside the box in stoppage time of the first-half, made his presence felt for Juan Morales to strike in the 80th minute and put the icing on the cake with a header in the 88th minute.
“It’s been painful watching the team lose from the stands in previous games but it’s good to be back and score two goals. I should have scored a lot more I think,” Nakajima-Farran told official broadcasters TV9.
“The goals were not an individual effort. My teammates gave me great balls on both occasions … they just know where I want the ball to be at.
“I’ve been back in training for a few days already but my lungs still have some cobwebs in it… it should get better after a few games,” he added, referring to his match fitness.
Selangor, who attempted to come back in the second-half, equalised through R. Gopinathan but Zainal’s boys went on to waste a host of chances before Morales put the host ahead again towards the end of the match.
The win was a relieve for Terengganu stand-in coach Mike Mulvey, who was overseeing his third of three matches he was tasked at when the management decided to rest Ahmad Yusof on February 22.
Terengganu had also defeated Pahang last time out but did not dominate proceedings like how they did on Friday.
“We won comfortably but we only made it difficult for ourselves at the start of the second-half,” Mulvey said.
“We gave them a goal that was entirely our doing. The shot was well taken, I can’t credit away from that but we put ourselves in that position.
“I saw the team last season and too many times, they conceded silly goals. We need to curb that.”