P. Maniam won the battle of the debuting coaches when his new Selangor side beat Ashley Westwood’s Pulau Pinang 2-0 at the Selayang Municipal Council Stadium in an end-to-end match.
Goals from Adam Nor Azlin and Francis Forkey Doe in the first half gave the Red Giants a much-needed victory following various off-the-pitch incidents during pre-season.
But it was Penang who started off brightly and their high tempo play almost paid off, but Jafri Firdaus could only shoot at the side netting after a great long ball from Faizat Ghazali on the 4th minute.
But Selangor grew into the game as time goes on and they nearly went into the lead twice, but Saiful Ridzuwan puts his shot just wide after good work from Forkey Doe & Syahmi Safari and Adam Nor’s effort was deflected off Andrew Russell and the ball would’ve snuck in had it not for Syed Adney tipping it over.
But Penang could’ve been 1-0 up when Faizat’s dangerous low cross that was meant for Faiz Subri was blocked by Rizal Fahmi who had to get it right as the ball went across the goal.
Faiz Subri almost repeated his free-kick heroics on the 24th minute with a low curling effort but the ball went narrowly wide.
Then, Selangor took the lead on the 35th minute when Ugo Ukah’s header was saved by Adney from S. Veenod’s left-wing cross, but Adam Nor was able to put in the rebound close range.
Selangor then doubled their lead a minute before first half injury time after Adney’s poor clearance found Saiful by the halfway line and with the Pahang defense stretched, Saiful’s pass found Forkey Doe, whose low shot went past Adney.
But Selangor’s injury woes continue when Forkey Doe goes off injured with Muhd Afiq Azmi replacing him almost immediately after the second half started.
Westwood’s half-time team talk had an effect on Penang as they put on the pressure on the Red Giants, but captain Raifuddin Rodin and substitute Azrul Ahmad both had their smashing shots well saved by Selangor’s 3rd choice keeper, Zarif Irfan.
Selangor also had their fair share of chances in the second half when Adam Nor saw his low shot from the edge go narrowly wide and Syahmi’s effort from outside couldn’t find the target after a good run.
Despite Penang having most of the ball in the second half, they couldn’t produce anything more as Selangor held on to win and gave Westwood plenty to think about his Penang side.