Singapore Selection Retain Cup At Home
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Singapore Selection were crowned champions of The Sultan of Selangor’s Cup (TSSC) 2017 after an exciting 3-2 victory over the Selangor Selection side at the National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub on Saturday evening.
It was however, by no means a straightforward win for Fandi Ahmad’s side in a game played in front of a 25,619-strong crowd.
It looked like it was all over after goals from Khairul Nizam, Shakir Hamzah and Faris Ramli had given the Singapore Selection a three-goal cushion, but Safee Sali and Gonzola Manuel Soto struck to set up a nervy ending to the game.
The deadlock was broken just 11 minutes in when Nizam leapt at the far post before nodding home Yasir Hanapi’s cross to put the home side in front.
The lively Nizam then nearly doubled his tally for the night on 25 minutes after connecting with Faritz Hameed’s cross but could only send a header narrowly over the bar.
The second goal for Singapore Selection would however arrive a minute before half-time when Shakir latched onto a sublime through pass from Yasir before finishing past Zamir with the outside of his foot.
The visitors were then handed a chance to pull one back in the 52nd minute after they were awarded a penalty when Safee was bundled over in the box. The 33-year-old forward however skied his spotkick, much to the relief of the Singapore Selection.
At the other end though, Singapore Selection had a penalty of their own on the hour mark and Faris showed how it should be done - making no mistake by sending Zamir the wrong way from the spot to put Singapore three goals up.
Safee atoned for his earlier penalty miss in the 63rd minute, curling home a stupendous shot from the left which flew past a full-stretch Hassan to give the visitors a glimmer of hope.
Hassan then denied substitute Mathias Nicolas Hadwa with a flying save in the 74th minute, but there was nothing the Home United custodian could do to prevent the Selangor side from finding the net again.
Argentinian Soto was at the right place and time to tap home from close range after Hassan parried a header straight into this path and set up a nervy ending to the game.
Try as they might, but there was just no way back for E. Elavasaran’s men as the Singapore Selection hung on to successfully defend their TSSC crown on home soil and take their total wins in the annual series to seven.
Singapore Selection Head Coach Fandi Ahmad: “A victory against any Malaysian side is always nice.
“We played in an attacking manner and stuck to our gameplan. However, we were too comfortable after leading 3-0 and it really struck us when they scored two goals. In the end, we had a good 90 minutes and that’s what mattered.”
“We were very happy with the turnout of the fans today. Hopefully we can bring more games like this and I hope to hear the Kallang Roar with the National Team as well.”
Selangor Selection Head Coach E. Elavarasan: “We have to accept this result, because we can’t change it. We had the chances to score but we didn’t and we can’t blame anyone for this.
“At least we got together and put a fight. It could have ended in a 3-3 draw, but they (Singapore) were playing much better although we did play some good football in the second half.
Singapore Selection: Hassan Sunny (GK), Shakir Hamzah, Faritz Hameed, Faris Ramli (Hami Syahin 87’), Jordan Webb (Gabriel Quak 90'), Hariss Harun (C), Kento Nagasaki, Khairul Nizam (Shahril Ishak 68’), Irfan Fandi (Zulfahmi Arifin 66’), Yasir Hanapi (Khairul Amri 56’), Yasutaka Yanagi (Afiq Yunos 46’)
Selangor Selection: Zamir Selamat (GK), Azmi Muslim (Alif Haikal 56’), Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh (Lucas Sebastian 81’), Shahrul Azhar Ture (Azreen Zulkafali 66’), Safee Sali (C), Nazrin Syamsul (Khyril Muhymeen 86’), Gonzalo Manuel Soto, Fauzan Dzulkifli, Gunalan Padathan, Nizam Abu Bakar (Bobby Gonzales 90’), Sim Woon Sub (Mathias Nicolas Hadwa 40’)