Southeast Asia Malaysia

Dismal FELDA Destroyed by Selangor in Potential Swansong

In potentially their last ever match as a football club, FELDA United were comprehensively destroyed 6-1 by Selangor FA at the UiTM Stadium in Shah Alam on Saturday night. Selangor’s Nigerian danger man Ifedayo Olusegun bagged himself a hat-trick while his Brazilian teammate Sandro Da Silva got himself a brace in the Liga Super Malaysia Matchweek 11 encounter which sealed FELDA’s relegation to the Liga Premier Malaysia.

With the announcement of the Federal Land Development Authority planning to withdraw FELDA United from the Malaysian football pyramid still fresh in memory, Nidzam Jamil’s Fighters travel to Selangor knowing that they must win their match against the Red Giants if they wish to prolong their stay in the Liga Super. However, FELDA were winless since the Liga Super resumed action following a COVID-19 enforced suspension on August and facing off against a Selangor side fresh off battering bottom side PDRM FA 7-0 in the previous matchweek will always be a tall order.

Selangor caretaker head coach Michael Feichtenbeiner took the opportunity to introduce some fresh faces into his starting lineup with nothing else to play for this season, with third-choice goalkeeper Tauffiq Ar-Rasyid, left-back Zikri Khalili, and midfielder Mukhairi Ajmal making their bows in this match. Both Tauffiq and Zikri are making their first Selangor starts this season, with the latter being promoted from the Red Giants’ second team Selangor II, while Mukhairi is making his second start in the Selangor first team.

Brendan Gan gave Selangor the lead in the 13th minute, however Danial Amier, a bright spark in FELDA’s dismal 2020 season, drew the scoreline level in the 33rd minute. With seconds to go until half-time, Olusegun regained the lead for Selangor after finishing off a brilliant pass from Sandro with an excellent shot that left FELDA goalkeeper Muhaimin Mohamad utterly stunned.

The second half saw Selangor stepping into high gear as they methodically tore FELDA apart. Olusegun scored his brace with a 62nd minute penalty, before Sandro blasted two goals in the 70th and 78th minute. Olusegun then wrapped up his hat-trick in the 88th minute to condemn FELDA into relegation from the Liga Super.

Olusegun’s hat-trick on Saturday night meant that the Nigerian finished the season with a personal tally of 12 goals. Should closest competitor Shahrel Fikri of Perak FA fail to score on Sunday, that means the title of the 2020 Liga Super Malaysia Golden Boot is as good as Olusegun’s.

After the referee brought the curtain down on the 6-1 massacre, FELDA were left treading a path of uncertainty. Whilst their backers might have announced their desire to withdraw FELDA from Malaysian football, the Malaysian Football League (MFL) are still optimistic that the Fighters would change their minds sooner than later, and former FELDA secretary general Afrizal Abu Othman – one of the 16 FELDA employees laid off by the club’s backers – has stated that he and the other members of FELDA’s management are still working hard in finding a new investor to support the team. Should a new investor came to FELDA’s rescue, the club will be able to plan for life in the 2021 Liga Premier season, however they will not be allowed to use the FELDA United name, the Fighters nickname, or any other element that link the club with the Federal Land Development Authority.

Elsewhere in Saturday night’s Matchweek 11 action, a ruthless second half performance saw newly crowned Liga Super champions Johor Darul Ta’zim obliterate Melaka United 5-0 at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Krubong, with all five goals coming in the second stanza. The huge win ensured that JDT finished the 2020 Liga Super Malaysia season as unbeaten champions, their second invincible league run after their triumph in 2016. The Southern Tigers have once again proven themselves to be levels above their Liga Super competitors, winning 9 out of their 11 games and with only two draws blemishing their record this season.

At the Petaling Jaya Stadium, PDRM finished the season with minus points as the Cops were beaten 4-1 by hosts Petaling Jaya City. Former Persela Lamongan striker Washington Brandao scored a brace while former Malaysia national team stalwart Safee Sali and M. Kogileswaran Raj scored one goal each as PJ City raced to a 4-0 lead, before PDRM’s Turkmen midfielder Serdar Geldiyew bagged an 81st minute consolation for the Cops. Defeat in their last game of the season meant that PDRM, who were deducted 3 points at the start of the season due to financial arrears, would finish the season with -1 point, with zero wins, two draws, and nine defeats to their name.

Matchweek 11 continues on Sunday with an all-important clash for the Liga Super silver medal, with 3rd placed Perak hosting 2nd placed Kedah FA at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh. Terengganu FC travel to Pahang FA knowing that a win and a favorable result in Ipoh would secure them this season’s bronze medal, while a spike of COVID-19 cases in Kota Kinabalu meant that Sabah FA’s home match against UiTM FC has been postponed indefinitely. However, Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto’s Tembedau knew that they’re safe from the threat of relegation after Selangor had hammered FELDA on Saturday.