Football Tribe SEA Editor
Last night saw the start of the much-hyped 2020 Selangor Asia Challenge friendly tournament at the Shah Alam Stadium, where four of Southeast Asia’s finest teams go up against one another in a series of matches that will prepare them for the upcoming 2020 season. Hosts Selangor FA of Malaysia are joined by Vietnamese champions Hanoi FC, Thai giants True Bangkok United, and Indonesia’s very own Persib Bandung in this tournament,
The tournament uses a unique format that saw each team play their opponents twice instead of three times, with Selangor squaring off against Persib and Bangkok United and not Hanoi as an example, with three points being awarded to the match’s winner and additional points are added according to the number of goals scored. The buildup towards the 2020 Selangor Asia Challenge was much-hyped by Selangor’s social media accounts, who posted goal highlights, fact sheets, and players to watch from each of the participating teams, while during the duration of the tournament, the organizers pulled out all the stops to ensure that the Hanoi fans, the Bangkok United fans, as well as the Bobotoh (Persib fans) would feel comfortable at the tournament venue.
The first match of the tournament saw Hanoi taking on Bangkok United at the Shah Alam, with the latter showcasing their new red-and-black striped home jersey for 2020. While many expected a close encounter between the two, it turned out to be one-way traffic as Bangkok United managed to control the game and ran out 3-0 winners. Goals from Nattawut Suksum, Vander Luiz, and youngster Guntapon Keereelaeng ensured the six points – three for the win and three for their goals – for Mano Polking’s men.
The second match at the Shah Alam pits hosts Selangor against Persib, the former debuting their 2020 home jersey as well. It was a tale of two halves as Selangor utterly dominated Persib in the first half, racing into a 3-0 lead with goals from newly appointed captain Taylor Regan, Sandro da Silva, and Syahmi Safari. Persib, who were without a number of key players such as wantaway striker Ezechiel N’Douassel, Febri Haryadi, Achmad Jufriyanto, Nick Kuipers, and goalkeeper I Made Wirawan, struggled to contain Selangor in the first half, however, they grew into the game during the second half and managed to keep up with their Malaysian counterparts. The damage has already been done though and it was Selangor who emerged out 3-0 victors, earning themselves all six points.
The 2020 Selangor Asia Challenge continues today with Persib taking on Hanoi in the early kick-off before the tournament comes to a close with Selangor facing off against Bangkok United.