Nov 04, 2021 - FAS
It was a hard-fought win in the end for Karsten Neitzel's charges, playing away to Kuching City in their Matchday 4 TM Piala Malaysia 2021 encounter. But in the end, victory is Selangor FC's, courtesy of the team's perseverance, and we are through to the quarter-finals with two group matches to spare.
Let us look back at what stood out in the Red Giants' 2-1 win over Kuching City last night.
1. If it works, why change it?
At the Tan Sri Dato' Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium on Wednesday, Neitzel fielded a line-up that was rather unusual; it was the very same set of players that started last Saturday's matchday three encounters at home, also against the same outfit.
It was an easy decision to make for the boss, considering that the match at the MBPJ Stadium had ended in an emphatic 5-1 win for his boys. His decision to again field a young squad against the Premier League side is also understandable considering that their next clash is against Group B favourites, Terengganu FC this Sunday.
In the end, although the match in Larkin turned out to be a much tougher one than the previous home encounter, the boys proved that they do have the mettle to fulfil the objective of taking home the three points.
2. Danial continues fine form
The boss' decision to stick to the same line-up also meant another outing as the main striker for Danial Asri, who last Saturday turned in a five-star performance to net two goals and be involved in two more. He was never going to be allowed the same amount of space and time by the opponents in the return fixture, but the 21-year old still made himself a threat against them.
It did not take long for him to strike again when in the 18th minute he smartly eluded his marker to open the scoring with a deftly-placed header. He remained a constant danger to the host afterwards, including a second-half chip over the goalkeeper that just fell short off the line by a yard.
Danial was later given an early rest before he could double his tally, but looking at his red-hot form, surely the Rawang lad will get the chance to extend his current record of three goals in three Malaysia Cup appearances.
3. Big Match This Sunday
The third win in Group B was enough to confirm our spot in the quarter-final stage with two games in hand. But the job is not quite finished yet due to the fact that we will be squaring off against group leaders and favourites Terengganu FC at home this Sunday.
It is a good thing that qualification was secured early because this means that the focus can be shifted solely on taking on an opponent who is three points ahead of us in the standings and has also secured their place in the knockout stage.
A win against the Turtles will bring the Red Giants closer to ending the group stage as group winners, as well as securing a more favourable tie, which in turn will help the team in going further in the competition.
Furthermore, a win against the same opponent who has defeated us three times this season will do a lot in boosting the squad's morale and confidence ahead of the more challenging fixtures in the knockout stage.
We hope to see our fans turning out in droves to the MBPJ Stadium this Sunday to support our boys against the favourites. Ticketing information will be provided through our social media soon.
By Zulhilmi Zainal