Selangor rely on Samba magic

Rangel scored his third goal in two games to put Selangor in the FA Cup second round — Picture by Razak Ghazali
Rangel scored his third goal in two games to put Selangor in the FA Cup second round — Picture by Razak Ghazali

PETALING JAYA, Jan 23 — Selangor coach Mehmet Durakovic vows to play total football regardless of the condition at their temporary home pitch at the PJ Stadium.

The Red Giants needed a second half Samba magic by Brazilians Paulo Rangel and Junior Aparecido to defeat Harimau Muda C 2-0 in the FA Cup and book a second round clash against Sarawak on Feb 4.

However,  it was not smooth sailing for the Red Giants as the FA of Malaysia (FAM) Under-19 development side held their own and even had chances to take the lead.

Durakovic conceded it was not easy playing Hassan Sazali's boys but insisted the pitch condition only made  it harder for Selangor.

“They were a young side, fit and could run all day. It was very hard to play against them, and the pitch wasn't in the best condition,” said Durakovic.

“We tried to play short passes with more off the ball movement but the pitch was bumpy. That said, our philosophy will remain the same whether it rains or shines. We will stick to it.

“The players needed time to gel as well. I made seven changes to the line-up as I have to utilise all my players considering we play three matches in a week,” he said.

Rangel had given Selangor the lead through a rebound shot after custodian Ahmad Syihan Hazmi spilled an Abdul Hadi Yahya freekick in 52nd minute.

It wasn't until the introduction of Junior in the 59th minute that Selangor looked impressive. The central midfielder took charge of matters and found the back of the net with a shot just outside of the box in the 72nd minute.

Hassan, who only took charge of the team last week, was satisfied with Harimau Muda C's display despite the loss.

“Looking at the style of play, I am satisfied. They didn’t show any nerves despite going against a big team with foreign players.

“It's too soon for me to make drastic tactical changes but there would be a few inclusions to the team before the FAM League starts in March,” said Hassan.