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Selangor 0 Pahang 2: No joyous return for Amri and Andik logo 25-05-2017

BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter

Pahang bounced back from their FA Cup final defeat against Kedah, with a 2-0 win against Selangor in their round 13 Super League match on Wednesday.

A patient performance by the visitors at the Selayang Municipal Stadium allowed Brazilian forward Matheus Alves to break down the home side's defences twice in the final 15 minutes, to give them their first league win since April 8, and keep them in second place.

Selangor boss Maniam Pachaiappan did not wait long to field the new members of his squad; Amri Yahyah and Andik Vermansah. They started the match in front, sandwiching target man Forkey Doe. Juliano Mineiro dropped to midfield alongside Saiful Ridzuwan Selamat. Left back Rizal Fahmi Rosid retained his place in the starting line-up, after scoring the equaliser against Sarawak in the previous round.

Pahang head coach Dollah Salleh meanwhile stuck to the tried and tested, fielding the same men who started in their FA Cup final defeat against Kedah last Saturday. All four of their foreign players started including new signing Yamil Romero. Alves and Mohamadou Sumareh played in front, with Romero and Syamim Yahya in midfield. Wan Azraie Wan Teh's goal was protected by skipper Matthew Davies, Jaewon Heo and Faisal Rosli.

The first half went on with neither side dominating possession, and both the Red Giants and the Tok Gajah managed to create chances, only to be denied by their lack of clinical finishing and both goalkeepers' prowess. It ended goalless.

Five minutes into the second half, Doe could have broken the deadlock, after he was fed a teasing ball. He connected well with the delivery, but sent his shot straight at Azraei.

Pahang too nearly went in front moments later, but Sumareh's low cross simply passed in front of the Selangor goalmouth without any of his teammates connecting with it.

Much was expected of Amri and Andik in this match, however they failed to make the chance given by Maniam count. The veteran forward failed to play the supporting attacker role assigned to him and connect with Doe, and had to resort to dropping deeper to collect the ball.

The Indonesia winger managed to do slightly better, even making an attempt at goal that went straight at Azraei, but the home fans knew they have seen him perform much better and provide more lethality before his injury.

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The pair only managed to pick up a booking each, Amri for a clumsy challenge just outside of the Selangor penalty area, and Andik for an unnecessary challenge on Azraei.

The Indonesian was the first of Maniam's men to be taken off, for Halim Zainal in the 67th minute.

With an hour gone in the match, Mineiro found himself with the ball inside the Pahang penalty area. But his shot too went straight to Azraei, who palmed it away.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 74th minute, by Alves. He beat Ukah to connect first with Davies' cross from the right, and this time he managed to head the ball away from Selangor custodian Khairulazhan Khalid, and into the back of the net.

Nine minutes later, the Brazilian doubled his tally and his side's lead, scoring amidst the shambolic defending by the home side.

To make matters worse, in the 87th minute Halim was shown a red card for retaliating against Sumareh. That was the final nail in Selangor's coffin, and the match ended 2-0.

After the disappointment of their FA Cup final defeat, the win is surely a much-needed tonic for Dollah's men going into the break, especially when they have not won their previous three league matches.

Meanwhile, questions must be asked on Maniam's squad selection. No one can dispute the contribution that Amri and Andik can provide when fit and at peak form, but for him to field not one, but two new squad members at the start of a match does suggest impatience and naivety.

More: Amri, Andik need to contribute more to Selangor's defending, says Maniam | 'I will work hard against Pahang' - Andik set to start for Selangor | Pahang 2 Selangor 2: Faisal Rosli makes up for penalty with late equaliser for Tok Gajah

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