Sunday, 9 February 2014

New goalie helps Penang beat UITM in Premier League

Debutant goalkeeper Khairul Amri Sallehuddin will retain his starting place for Penang after winning praises in the Panthers’ 1-0 Premier League win over UiTM FC.

The 24-year-old Khairul, Perak’s second choice custodian last year, was making his first appearance in the Panthers’ starting 11 in place of the out-of-favour G. Jeevananthan.

Jeeva, the former Selangor and Armed Forces goalkeeper, received plenty of flak from fans over his performance in the 5-1 thrashing by Police a fortnight ago.

Khairul put in a solid shift against the university team at the City Stadium on Friday, and delivered a clean sheet for Penang.

“I will keep faith with Khairul for our next match against Perlis on Monday. He was confident between the posts and did enough to convince me that he deserves his starting place,” said Penang coach K. Devan.

“I made several changes, especially in defence, to face UiTM. There was a marked improvement in the performance but we still lived dangerously in the second half, after failing to get the second goal to kill off the tie. I will likely maintain this winning line-up for our next game.”

South Korean midfielder Lee Kil-hoon scored the only goal of the match from a freekick in the 11th minute. The win helped the islanders move up to fifth with six points from three games and, more importantly, get over the demoralising defeat against Police.

“I consider our heavy loss against Police as a one-off bad performance. It is not fair to single out one or two players for criticism as the entire team played badly that day.

“By bouncing back against UiTM, we put the defeat behind us and restored the team’s confidence. This win is for the fans and the FAP (Football Association of Penang), who gave us full support when we were down,” said Devan.

Besides Khairul, another player who featured the full 90 minutes for the first time was Angolan forward Titi Buengo.

Although the towering striker failed to score, Devan was happy with Buengo’s contribution.

“I did not start Titi before this as he was not match fit when he joined us. He was brilliant against UiTM, especially in the first half. He looked tired in the final 20 minutes but I’m confident he’ll get better with more matches under his belt.”

For UiTM, the first defeat in three matches leaves them in seventh spot on four points. They are now five points behind leaders Police, who maintained their 100% start to the season with a 1-0 home win over Sabah.

Sabah are one of three teams, together with DRB-Hicom and Perlis, without any points after three rounds of Premier League matches.

Police beat Sabah to remain top of Premier League

Police remain top of the Premier League after left-back Sabre Mat Abu scored the only goal of the match three minutes after the break in a 1-0 win over Sabah at the Petaling Jaya Stadium.

Negri Sembilan moved into second place after beating Felda United 2-1 in Paroi thanks to goals by Jean-Emmanuel Owona with a free-kick in the 21st minute and S. Sivanesan (32nd) while Indra Putra Mahayuddin replied for Felda in the 68th.

Sarawak beat PKNS to maintain good form

Sarawak shot to the top of the Super League for a while after beating PKNS 2-0 as a late Hafiz Kamal goal gave Malaysia Cup champions Pahang a 3-2 win over Darul Ta'zim  in Kuantan yesterday.

Promoted side Sarawak joined six teams on six points to lead only on goals scored after fans flooded the Selayang Stadium and saw their team go 2-0 up inside 16 minutes thanks to two long throw-ins by Ronny Harun.

Milorad Janjus headed in the first in the ninth minute past an unsighted PKNS goalkeeper Zamir Selamat before Gabor Gyepes repeated the trick seven minutes later.

Joseph Kalang Tie thought he made it 3-0 when he had the ball in the net in the 49th minute but it was correctly ruled out when he handled it in the process.

Janjus then missed a sitter, blazing over the bar when Zamir could only parry Ashru Chuchu's shot before the goalkeeper denied the Serbian from point-blank range.

At the other end, Fadzley Rahim's fingertips steered PKNS hot-shot Patrick Wleh's drive wide before Gyepes' goalline clearance denied the Liberian.

Fadzley tipped Khairu Azrin Razali's looping header against the bar in the 82nd minute to deny PKNS a consolation.

Fans were segregated by barbed wire at the Darulmakmur Stadium as star-studded Darul Ta'zim's winless run in the league extended to three matches.

Hafiz struck deep into stoppage-time when he connected to Azidan Sarudin's free-kick to send the home fans wild.

Argentinian Matias Conti gave Pahang the lead in the 13th minute when he capitalised on a mix up in the visitors' defence to slot the ball past on-rushing goalkeeper Norazlan Razali.

Pahang almost made it 2-0 seven minutes later when Fauzi Roslan's header rattled the Darul Ta'zim crossbar, a miss which proved costly as Pablo Aimar turned in Amri Yahyah's pass for the equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

However, Fauzi Roslan restored the lead for Pahang two minutes into the second half before substitute Safee Sali drew the visitors level with his first goal of the season in the 73rd minute.

T-Team gives statements to Police over assault

Terengganu police have recorded statements from 17 officials and players from T-Team over the incident at the Larkin Stadium on Feb 1.

Terengganu police chief Datuk Jamshah Mustapa said the statements awould be submitted to Bukit Aman for further investigations.

“We recorded statements from those in Terengganu as soon as we received a report from the players and the management of the team,” he told reporters after launching a motorcycle patrol unit (URB) here on Sunday.

Last Sunday, T-Team striker Evaldo Goncalves, defender Fabio Flor de Azevado, fitness coach Stefano Impagliazzo and chief operating officer Mohd Syahrizan Mohd Zain lodged reports at the Kuala Terengganu district police headquarters.

Goncalves alleged that he was punched in the nose by a top Johor FA official while Impagliazzo claimed he was

kicked in the groin by the official’s escort in the Larkin Stadium tunnel during the FA Cup second-round match, As a result T-Team abandoned the match, refusing to come out after half-time, citing “security reasons”.

On Monday, the Johor Football Association (JFA) also lodged a police report alleging JDT coach Cesar Jimenez was assaulted by a fitness coach and a striker from T-Team.

On Thursday, JDT were awarded a 3-0 win by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), qualifying them for the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Selangor beat Sime Darby to lead Super League

Brazilian Paulo Rangel fired Selangor to the top of the Super League standings with a brace in a 2-1 win over Sime Darby at the Selayang Stadium after falling behind to an early goal.

Perak tripped up Kelantan 2-1 in Ipoh to climb above LionsXII, who drew with Terengganu 0-0, and Darul Ta'zim while a late goal by Khairan Ezuan Razali moved T-Team off the bottom after a 2-2 draw with Armed Forces.

Selangor, smarting from Tuesday's FA Cup loss to Sarawak, fielded an unchanged line up but were penalised for poor defending after just 72 seconds when Failee Ghazli rifled in the opener from Farderin Kadir's cross.

K. Gurusamy's responded for Selangor with a shot outside the box which hit the post before Rangel grabbed the equaliser five minutes before the break after Sime Darby's defenders failed to cut out Bunyamin Umar's low cross which allowed the Brazilian time to control the ball and pick his spot.

Steve Pantelidis was ruled offside when he headed in Junior Aparecido's free-kick four minutes after the break but Rangel was on hand to head in Hadi Yahya's cross five minutes from time to top the Super League scoring charts with five goals.

Selangor went two points clear of Forces and Terengganu as Sime Darby, who only had one foreign signing in Uzbek midfielder Dilshod Sharofetdinov available, dropped to the bottom of the table with their third league defeat.

Perak continued their surprise start to the season with two youngsters scoring their goals at the Perak Stadium.

An error by Kelantan goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat in the 12th minute, when he flapped at the corner kick, allowed Ahmad Sukri Hamid to knock the ball in for his first senior goal.

Mohamed Shawky drew Kelantan level 10 minutes after the break but it was another Perak youngster, Khairul Asyraf Sahizah, who replaced Zelimir Terkes earlier, who scored with a header 12 minutes from time.

T-Team left it late to grab a point against Forces at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium as the action shifted to the field after last Tuesday's off-pitch incident in Johor Baru dominated headlines.

Azlan Ismail scored off a Badrul Hisyam Morris pass after 12 minutes to put T-Team ahead but a rocket by Norfazly Alias from 40 metres made it 1-1 five minutes before half-time.

Bruno Martelotto put Forces 2-1 up on the hour mark with a close-range effort from a Venice Elphi pass before T-Team goalkeeper Shahril Saari kept the host in the game when he saved Juan Manuel Arostegui's 67th-minute penalty.

Khairan then stepped up to slam in a loose ball inside the penalty box in stoppage-time to salvage a point for T-Team.

Super League champions LionsXII were held 0-0 by Terengganu at the Jalan Besar Stadium as Shahfiq Ghani coming closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half with a free-kick.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Johor Darul Takzim makes police report against T-Team

The tables have been turned as the Johor Football Association (JFA) lodged a police report alleging that Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) coach Cesar Jimenez was assaulted by a fitness coach and a striker from Terengganu's T-Team.

In the report lodged at the Johor Baru Sentral police station on Tuesday, Jimenez alleged that he was assaulted by T-Team striker Evaldo Goncalves and fitness coach Stefano Impagliazzo.

He was accompanied by Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu, a lawyer appointed by JFA , their honorary secretary Mohd Fahmy Yahya and several officials.

“We are here to accompany him (Jimenez) to lodge the report detailing that he was assaulted by the T-Team player wearing jersey No. 16 and their fitness coach," Baljit said.

According to him, Jimenez claims that he was the victim yet the facts had been twisted by T-Team and their officials.

The two teams were in the Larkin Stadium tunnel, trooping out at half-time during their FA Cup second-round clash on Saturday, with JDT leading 2-1, when the incident happened. Play was stopped when T-Team refused to come out in the second half.

”In the incident, his (Jimenez) T-shirt collar was pulled by the fitness coach (Impagliazzo) and he was also verbally abused by Impagliazzo," said Baljit.

He said the report was made under Section 323 of the Penal Code for assault and Section 506 of Criminal Code for criminal intimidation.

Similarly, Baljit said that the JFA would not hesitate to take legal action against those who were found to be spreading rumours or lies in the incident.

“We are giving our full co-operation to the police and the Football Association of Malaysia to investigate the case," he added.

Johor Baru South OCPD ACP Sulaiman Salleh confirmed the report.

On Sunday, T-Team striker Goncalves, defender Fabio Flor de Azevado, Impagliazzo and the club’s chief operating officer Mohd Syahrizan Mohd Zain lodged reports at the Kuala Terengganu district police headquarters pertaining to the incident.

The Brazilian striker Goncalves alleged that he was punched in the nose by a Johor FA top official while Impagliazzo was kicked in the groin by the official’s escort in the Larkin Stadium tunnel here.

T-Team makes police reports over assault of players

T-Team have lodged police reports alleging that a top Johor FA official had assaulted two of their players and a fitness coach.

Striker Evaldo Goncalves, defender Fabio Flor de Azevado, fitness coach Stefano Impagliazzo and the club’s chief operating officer Mohd Syahrizan Mohd Zain lodged the reports at the Kuala Terengganu district police headquarters at 11pm on Sunday.

It is learnt that the reports were lodged to ensure “the safety of T-Team’s players” and named the “president of the Johor FA” as the perpetrator.

The reports state that Brazilian striker Goncalves was punched in the nose by the top official while Impagliazzo was kicked in the groin by the official’s escort in the Larkin Stadium tunnel when the two teams were trooping out at half-time during their FA Cup second round clash on Saturday. JDT were leading 2-1 at that time.

T-Team refused to come out for the second half and the match was abandoned.

Brazilian defender de Azevado also lodged a report claiming that he was verbally abused and threatened by the same official.

T-Team coach Azraai Khor Abdullah expressed hope that the authorities would act on the incident immediately.

“There’s nothing more we can do ... we’ll leave it to the authorities to handle it. For now, I want my players to put the incident behind them and focus on their football.

“We have a big match against Armed Forces this Saturday and I want the players to be in the right state of mind,” said Azraai, adding that team morale had not been too affected by the incident.

As for the victims, Azraai said that he understood the concern over their safety in the country.

“We cannot really stop them if they feel unsafe here. But they are good professionals and I think they will get over it,” said Azraai.

Sports Minister wants FAM to do more against corruption

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin wants the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to go after the big fish as well.

He commended FAM for slapping a RM5,000 fine on the 17 Kuala Lumpur players found guilty of match-fixing but said that should not be the end of the matter.

“The players were wrong, but FAM must also act against senior officers of the Kuala Lumpur Football Association (KLFA) who exposed their players to bookies, leaving them with no choice but to co-operate,” he told reporters outside a hospital here on Tuesday after visiting a 10-year-old girl, who was slashed by her father recently.

“We will wait for further action from FAM, which should be to investigate these officers.”

On Monday, 17 players from Kuala Lumpur’s 2013 Premier League side were fined RM5,000 each by the FAM disciplinary committee.

In December, FAM had imposed life bans on five KL players and three team officials, including a kitman, for match-fixing. The eight were also fined RM20,000 each.

Khairy also called on FAM to provide any evidence they had on the bookies and officers involved to the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for further action to be taken.

“I hope for swift action once the evidence has been collected ... as we need to do this to battle corruption within the local football industry,” he said.

Malaysia not appointing Troussier

Malaysia can forget about hiring renowned coach Philippe Troussier.

Negotiations between the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and the Frenchman fell through after several rounds of talks, with the last meeting held in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The FAM had wanted a new foreign coach to replace Datuk K. Rajagopal, whose contract was not renewed last December. Troussier was widely seen by many as being FAM’s first choice for the vacant coaching post.

However, all the hype came to naught following a disagreement in the terms of the contract between both parties.

It is learnt that the 58-year-old’s annual tax-free salary was supposed to be €600,000 (RM2.7mil) and that he was to be offered a three-year-deal.

The Frenchman’s deal included the hiring of his two assistants, costing FAM an additional €168,000 (RM760,000) annually.

FAM vice-president Datuk Subahan Kamal confirmed that negotiations with Troussier fell through and “we are looking for a replacement.

“We have not set a time frame to secure a new coach. This is not a busy year for the national team as we only have the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup at the end of the year,” added Subahan at Wisma FAM on Monday.

National Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee will continue to be the caretaker coach of the national team. He will handle the team’s final Asian Cup Group D qualifier against Yemen at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 5.

His first duty as caretaker coach will be the friendly against the Philippines national team at the Selayang Stadium on March 1.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Ong Kim Swee calls up new players for U-23 team

National Under-23 coach (Harimau Muda A) Datuk Ong Kim Swee has called up 11 new faces to beef up the squad that will be participating in the National Premier League (NPL) in Queensland, Australia from March to August, 2014.

Kim Swee said six of them were from the Harimau Muda B squad (National Under-21) and five from the Harimau Muda C (Under-19) squad.

Apart from the 11 players, Kim Swee would also be scouting for a number of players who would be playing in the President’s Cup competition which starts next week.

“Not all will make the final squad but I want to give them ample time to adapt to the National team’s style of the play,” he told Bernama yesterday.

Kim Swee said the squad would take a two-day break for the Chinese New Year celebrations (Friday and Saturday) and resume training on Sunday.

“We do not have much time to prepare as the team will be leaving to Brisbane soon,” he said.

The Harimau Muda A squad lost a number of first choice players due to their age factor, including skipper Mohd Irfan Fazail, defender Mohd Fadhli Mohd Shas, goalkeeper Mohd Izham Tarmizi Roslan and striker Izzaq Faris Ramlan.

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin had said that the team’s participation in the NPL was part of preparations to equip the squad for the challenges during the 2014 Asian Games.

Sarawak coach not happy over match schedules

Sarawak head coach Robert Alberts says that the Super League fixtures are somewhat “unfair” to local fans.

Speaking to reporters after the match against Sime Darby FC last Tuesday, he said that Sarawak did not get a fair share of Saturday home matches.

Such weekend matches, he noted, are vital for Sarawak fans, especially young fans, as they could have the next day (Sunday) as a rest day.

“We seem to have more Tuesday home matches than the ones on Saturday this year. This will make it harder for the fans as they will find difficulties to go to the stadium and support the team,” he added.

Matches on week days are seldom sold out at the Stadium Negeri as fans may choose to stay at home with the following day being a working and school day.

This is compounded by the fact that all Super League matches at Stadium Negeri kick off at 8.45pm and finish by 10.15pm or later.

There is also the added factor of distance.

It is challenging for some fans who live far from Kuching to travel to support the Crocs.

For the 2014 season, Sarawak get to play only five home matches on Saturdays, while the other six are on Tuesdays.

The two home matches played so far this season support Alberts’ observation.

The first against Kelantan on Jan 25 (Saturday) was played in front of a capacity crowd while a few empty seats were noticeable for the second against Sime Darby FC three days later on Jan 28 (Tue).

FAM gives ultimatum to Troussier to become national team coach

Philippe Troussier has been given until tomorrow to decide about his future with Malaysia and if the Frenchman declines, Ong Kim Swee will handle the national senior team on a caretaker basis for next month's international matches.

The former Japan coach made unrealistic demands in a recent three-day meeting with the FA of Malaysia (FAM) in Kuala Lumpur.
Troussier did not want FAM to subject him to Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and also grant him the liberty to end his contract at any time after serving a year with full compensation.
The national body, however, did not agree to Troussier's terms but the Paris-born promised to look into the offer with his lawyers before making a decision.
"FAM did not officially say 'No' to Troussier, neither did he. The deal is not off. He has returned to Paris to speak to his lawyers and will reply to the national body on Monday (tomorrow)," said a source yesterday.
"FAM hopes Troussier will compromise and accept the offer without added clauses. It is unrealistic for coaches not to have a KPI.
"The national body would have agreed to the standard six-month compensation clause but he wanted full compensation if he leaves after one year.
"However, FAM complied to other demands pertaining the selection of players and the day-to-day operations of the team."
The former Marseille coach, who guided Japan to the 2000 Asian Cup and the last-16 of the 2002 World Cup, was initially approached by FAM through the Japan FA's recommendation.
FAM spoke with Troussier in China last year and met him again in Singapore two months ago.
In the three-day meeting, which ended on Thursday, in KL, Troussier met several FAM officials, including deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
If Troussier does not accept the offer, Kim Swee, who signed a two-year extension as national youth coach recently, will handle the senior team in next month's international matches.
Malaysia play the Philippines on March 1 in a friendly before taking on Yemen in an Asian Cup Group D qualifying match, four days later, in Abu Dhabi (neutral venue).
"Kim Swee is our option for next month's matches on a caretaker basis and if FAM does not hire a senior coach soon, the former international will prepare a team for the AFF Suzuki Cup.
"FAM will continue to scout for suitable candidates for the senior team. We have not rejected other applicants," the source added.
However, there could be a problem if FAM decides to install Kim Swee as a permanent senior coach.
The Malacca-born has already signed a new contract to handle the national Under-23 team (Young Tigers A) for the Incheon Asian Games and also oversee FAM's other youth squads -- Tigers B (Under-21), C (Under-19) and D (Under-17).

Pahang upsets Singapore while T-Team abandons match in FA Cup

The FA Cup second round match between Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and T-Team ended abruptly at the Larkin Stadium.

It is learnt that the visiting team decided not to take to the field in the second-half, with JDT leading 2-1, as they feared for their safety.

It is also learnt that a scuffle had broken out during the break as the players and officials headed for the tunnel. Television footage also showed JDT striker Pablo Aimar involved in a heated argument with a T-Team coaching staff.

Match commissioner Zainal Mukri said he would refer the incident to the FAM competitions committee.

He also confirmed that a shouting match took place between JDT coach Cesar Jimenez and a T-Team fitness coach.

“I have yet to receive the reasons for T-Team’s decision in not coming out for the second half,” he said.

“The match will be postponed and I will also be sending the report to the FAM for further action."

JDT had taken a 2-0 lead through Argentine forward Luciano Figueroa in the 15th and 20th minutes before T-Team pulled a goal back through skipper Mohd Marzuki Yusof in the 26th minute off a freekick.

Meanwhile, Pahang created an upset of sorts when they ended Lions XII’s unbeaten home record at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday.

The Singaporeans, who have been unbeaten at home since July 2012, lost 2-1 to the Elephants in the second round of the FA Cup.

Midfielder Hafiz Kamal scored from a freekick in the 50th minute before his midfield partner Azidan Sarudin struck five minutes later to end the Lions’ 22-match unbeaten home run.

Defender Safuwan Baharudin reduced the deficit off a freekick in the 85th minute but it wasn’t enough for Fandi Ahmad’s men to mount a comeback.

The Lions’ last home defeat was a 1-0 setback to Johor FC in a Super League match in July 14, 2012.

Last season, the team, under the guidance of V. Sundramoorthy, lifted the Super League crown in style by remaining undefeated at home – recording 10 wins and a draw at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Coaches of Sime Darby and Armed Forces unhappy over referees

It’s only been 15 days – and four matches – since the M-League kicked off, but already there are rumblings about the poor quality of refereeing.

Already two coaches – Sime Darby FC’s Ismail Zakaria and Armed Forces’ B. Sathianathan – are in danger of being hauled up by the Football Association of Malaysia’s (FAM) disciplinary committee for criticising the referees during their teams’ recent Super League matches.

Ismail had voiced his displeasure after referee Mohd Nazmi Nasarudin awarded a questionable penalty in their 2-1 defeat to Kelantan in the opening match on Jan 18.

Sathia, meanwhile, criticised referee Suhaimi Mat Hassan’s error-filled performance after his side were knocked out 2-1 by Sime Darby in the first round of the FA Cup competition on Jan 21.

Last week, FAM disciplinary committee chairman Datuk Taufek Abdul Razak had instructed the rules and regulations committee to conduct a probe on the two coaches to see if they had breached Article 18 of the FAM disciplinary code.

Article 18 states that players and coaches cannot speak to the media without prior consent from FAM.

If found guilty, Ismail and Sathia face a minimum four-match suspension and a maximum two-year ban.

Surely something must be wrong with the standard of refereeing when you consider this: four red cards and 69 yellow cards have been brandished by the referees in just three rounds of Super League matches. That’s a total of 73 cards in 18 matches!

That works out to about four cards per game.

One match – a Super League clash between Sime Darby and Pahang played at the Selayang Stadium on Saturday – saw eight yellow cards being flashed, believe it or not!

Perhaps, Sathia and Ismail could have gone through the proper channels to voice their displeasure but one can’t just ignore the statistics either.

Ismail, who has yet to be officially charged with criticising the referee, said that he would lodge a formal complaint, together with video evidence, to FAM on the poor standard of refereeing in Kuching.

“It’s not a case of sour grapes ... we are not complaining because we lost to Sarawak,” said Ismail on Thursday.

“I accept my team’s defeat ... but the quality of refereeing is so alarming. We had two of our least aggressive players in the team getting sent off for dissent ... I find that very strange.

“I hope FAM will be more open to criticism. We are criticising because we want the standard of refereeing to improve ... it’s not a personal attack.”

Armed Forces beats Perak

Armed Forces rode their luck at times but B. Sathianathan had more than one reason to be thankful as his team held on to beat a young Perak side 1-0 in a Super League match in Selayang on Tuesday.

For one thing, it ended back-to-back defeats to Sime Darby in the FA Cup and PKNS in the league having opened their campaign with a 2-0 win over Sarawak.

Forces also managed the rare feat of winning without their top scorer of the last two seasons, Marlon Alex James, who complained of pain in the back of his knee and was not risked.

Sathianathan also saw Juan Manuel Arostegui break his duck in the Argentine's fourth appearance and did not have to call upon captain Hairuddin Omar, who remained on the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury which has delayed his 2014 debut.

"It was a great game and Perak played well. We tried to get into our rhythm, which is what has been missing," said Sathianathan, whose team failed to fully capitalise on a run of four games all played at their Selayang Stadium home.

"Sometimes we were in control and sometimes we were all over the place. It happens early in the season and Perak being so aggressive gave us problems.

"It is a relief for me and the team. We have been under pressure mentally and psychologically. We can't always play well but today there were some good combinations.

"It's just that some times we make silly mistakes, make clearances when we should play it on the ground. But I told the players that as long they give their best, I'll be satisfied."

Arostegui scored the only goal of the match in the 19th minute when he turned in a rebound after Christie Jayaseelan's shot came back off the crossbar and it needed a fingertip save from Syed Adney Syed Hussein to prevent defender Spase Dilevski from diverting the ball into his own net and preserve Forces' lead.

Forces are one of five teams on six points after three matches and are placed third in the table behind Selangor and Terengganu by virtue of having scored one goal less with goal differences identical.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Selangor loses to Singapore LionsXII again

Francis Doe's late goal gave Kelantan sole possession of top spot and the only 100 per cent record in the Super League yesterday as title rivals Darul Ta'zim and Selangor slumped to away defeats.

Kelantan took advantage of the upsets to open a three-point lead after just two rounds of matches with a 1-0 win over Sarawak, who are the only team without a point, in Kuching.

Defending champions LionsXII maintained their unbeaten record against Selangor in five meetings with a 2-1 win at the Jalan Besar Stadium thanks to Khairul Amri Kamal's stoppage time header while Kuala Terengganu T-Team stunned Darul Ta'zim 1-0.

Malaysia Cup champions Pahang also came unstuck on the road when they were upset 1-0 by unfancied Sime Darby, who also struck the woodwork twice, in Selayang.

Liberia international Doe settled a tight contest at the State Stadium in the 90th minute when he tapped in Mohammad Ghaddar's cutback after the Lebanese forward was sent clear by a precise Badhri Radzi throughball.

Darul Ta'zim failed to capitalise on their opportunities at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium and T-Team, increasingly dominant after they broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute through Patrich Wanggai.

The Indonesian headed into the net after the ball looped up and over the visitors' defence when Evaldo Goncalves headed into the ground off a corner, just 12 minutes after Luciano Figueroa's shot bounced off the base of the post for Darul Ta'zim.

It was the second straight win for T-Team over Darul Ta'zim after their 2-1 win at Larkin in last year's Malaysia Cup.

LionsXII extended their unbeaten home record to 22 matches when Khairul Amri headed past Selangor goalkeeper Farizal Marlias from a corner-kick five minutes into injury time.

Selangor had been set to return with a point after Fitri Shazwan Raduwan's looping header over Izwan Mahbud in the 57th minute cancelled another header by Shakir Hamzah, also from a corner, a minute before half-time.

In Selayang, Pahang were left wondering what went wrong when two former Kuala Lumpur teammates combined to put Sime Darby in front five minutes after half-time.

Just two minutes after hitting the woodwork, Fahrul Razi Kamaruddin headed home left-back Farid Ramli's cross before Mahmoud Al Amnah also struck the frame of goal four minutes later as Sime Darby could have put the match to bed so much earlier.

Perak also left it late for their first win of the season after a stoppage-time strike by Brazilian forward Eliel Da Cruz Guardiano, making his first start, saw Terengganu beaten 1-0 in Ipoh.

Kelantan continue good form while Perak get first win

Kelantan maintained their perfect start to the Super League season after a late Francis Doe goal allowed them to edge Sarawak 1-0 at the State Stadium in Kuching on Saturday night.

The Liberian striker struck for the Red Warriors in the 90th minute just when the game had seemed headed for a stalemate.

Lebanese forward Mohammed Ghaddar, who fired a brace in Kelantan’s 2-0 opening day victory over PKNS last week, was the architect of the goal. Collecting a through ball from his skipper Mohd Badri Radzi, Ghaddar held off Ronny Harun before squaring the ball for Doe to tap in from close range.

Sarawak were the early aggressors but they had to wait until the 22nd minute before registering their first shot at goal. Serbian striker Milorad Janjus unleashed a long-range shot but it went straight into Kelantan goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat’s arms.

The fast-running Sarawak attackers gave the Kelantan defenders a torrid time. Asri Chuchu managed to beat the offside trap in the 24th minute but was thwarted by Zairul Fitree’s last-ditch tackle.

Kelantan also had a narrow escape a few minutes later with Obinna Nwaneri clearing the ball off his own line after national goalkeeper Khairul had failed to clear a corner.

Khairul was beaten two minutes before half-time by a volley from Sarawak skipper Joseph Kallang Tie. But to Sarawak’s disappointment, the effort was chalked off for offside.

Kelantan’s best chance of the first half fell to Doe. Despite being unmarked in front of goal, he headed the ball straight at goalkeeper Sani Anuar.

Doe did put the ball in the Sarawak net nine minutes into the second half, but the Liberian was ruled offside.

Sarawak again held the initiative in the second period but failed to create any clear-cut scoring opportunities.

And the Crocs were made to pay for their profligacy when Doe struck in the final minute of regulation time.

At the Perak Stadium in Ipoh, the home side relied on a 90th minute winner from Eliel Guardiano to stun Terengganu 1-0. It was Perak’s first win of the campaign.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Selangor aim to win 2 trophies

Indonesia international Andik Vermansyah wants to emulate Bambang Pamungkas' achievements with Selangor as the midfielder hopes to end the former Super League winners' title drought in the M-League.

Regarded as one of Selangor's best foreign signings, Bambang led them to the treble in the 2005 season before parting ways two years later.

Known as the "Lionel Messi of Indonesia", Andik who did not play a prominent role in Indonesia's silver medal success in last month's Sea Games due to injury, chose Selangor over other offers, which included one from a J-League team, and signed a one-year deal.

"I have always wanted to play for Selangor. It has been one of my childhood dreams to play in Malaysia. Hopefully, I can contribute significantly in my first season here," said Andik after he was unveiled as a Selangor player in Shah Alam yesterday.

Selangor FA president Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim surprised fans yesterday by stating that his team's target was two trophies this season, considering that the Klang Valley giants have not tasted success since their Super League triumph in 2010.

When asked whether the target was achievable, newly appointed coach Mehmet Durakovic said: "We will try our best to do well. I really hope we can win something this season."

The former champions have five prolific goal poachers in A. Thamil Arasu, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Abdul Hadi Yahya, Afiq Azmi and Brazilian Paulo Rangel but do not have depth in the backline. Former A-League's Perth Glory defender Steve Pantelidis and Brazil midfielder Junior Aparecido make up the foreign signings.

However, Selangor may not have the services of Pantelidis and defender Shahrom Abdul Kalam on Saturday. Pantelidis has not trained for two weeks due to injury while Shahrom is down with dengue.

PKNS striker targets more goals

PKNS FC will not be short of goals in the Super League this season.

This is the assurance given by Liberian hotshot Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh, who has promised to complement his new striking partner from Croatia – Karlo Primorac, the 2013 Premier League Golden Boot winner with 28 goals.

“We will get the goals ... rain or shine,” warned Wleh, the club’s top scorer with 22 goals last season.

PKNS have strengthened the squad with a few new signings, including attacking midfielder Kim Dong-chan of South Korea and centreback Hamka Hamzah of Indonesia.

Wleh, who has signed a new two-year deal with PKNS until 2016, has vowed to score 27 goals this season.

“I have pledged not to miss a game this season. I want PKNS to finish in the top six in the Super League and win a Cup final ticket. The Super League is going to be really competitive, but we will be no pushovers and be among the title contenders,” he said.

“Karlo is a huge asset to the team. He is a good finisher and I like his style of play. He made an outstanding contribution with his former team, Sime Darby FC. I’m sure the two of us will make a big difference to the team.”

PKNS coach Wan Jamak Wan Hassan has a balanced line-up and a good set of players, which include Mohd Nazmi Faiz and Mohd Fauzan Dzulkifli in the engine room and the likes of skipper Helmi Remeli, Es Lizuan Zahid Amir and P. Gunalan in defence.

Wleh wants his team to get off the mark in style when they open their campaign against Terengganu at the Sultan Ismail stadium in Kuala Terengganu on Saturday.

PKNS finished eighth in their Super League debut last season. In the FA Cup, they did well to edge Lions XII in the first round before crashing out to champions Kelantan (4-2) in the second round. They failed to get past the group stages in the Malaysia Cup.