Nov 15, 2021 - FAS
TM Piala Malaysia 2021: Uphill Task Awaits Selangor In Cheras
The first leg of the TM Piala Malaysia 2021 quarter-final tie against Kuala Lumpur City on Sunday ended in a 2-0 defeat to the Red Giants. Although we played at home, there is still 90 minutes left to play for in the second leg as we head to Cheras on Thursday. Karsten Neitzel’s charges need to build on the positives that were on show last night.
Midfield maestro Oliver Buff was thrusted right into action, starting against Kuala Lumpur City after recovering from an injury he had picked up in late September. He was not yet 100 per cent back to where he had been previously, but we can count on him using the full 90 minutes he was given on Sunday to return to full form this coming Thursday.
On Sunday the boss fielded an all-foreign midfield, and Oli showed sparks of understanding with his younger teammates Hein Htet Aung and Alex Agyarkwa. If this trio is retained for the second leg, expect them to play with more bite as their combination improves further.
Alex with the plan
Another man in the middle of the park displayed an improved performance to ensure that his starting role is a more permanent one. Having made his first team debut just two weeks earlier, Alex Agyarkwa provided a different dimension to Selangor's gameplay. While most of the other midfielders rely on their passing, the Ghanaian favours his ability to elude his marker through feints to help his team transition into attack.
On top of his trickery, Agyarkwa also displayed urgency when on the ball, something that was missing from his teammates on Sunday. If changes are needed in order to turn things around in the second leg, one of them must surely be for the team to follow the pace dictated by him.
Fans keep on believing
The 2-0 first leg defeat at home in a derby tie is a result that nobody at the club wants, but it was comforting to see our faithful fans staying until the final whistle and slightly beyond that to motivate the team with their singing.
In the post-match press conference Neitzel spoke of the need to keep on believing in the second leg, and this is what we all need to do in the next few days.
The official attendance figure on Sunday was 3,146 with the majority comprising the home fans, and Selangor FC now hopes to count on their belief to spur the team on in the away leg. There is no reason why it is impossible for the first leg result to be overturned, when the Red Giants have recorded four comeback wins this season alone, with the most recent just taking place in their last group match, against Perak FC last week.
A lot can happen in 90 minutes, and we hope that the fans share this optimism as well when the Klang Valley derby returns this Thursday.
By Zulhilmi Zainal