Southeast Asia Malaysia

Brilliant Panthers Stun Lackluster Red Giants in Petaling Jaya

The Panthers of Penang FC once again displayed an impressive performance on the road as they took down hosts Selangor FC 2-0 on Saturday’s 2021 Liga Super Malaysia Matchweek 5 action. Playing away at the Petaling Jaya Stadium, Tomas Trucha’s Penang side showed no fear as they braved through a dominant performance from Selangor and defeated the inconsistent hosts thanks to goals from Al-Hafiz Harun and Danial Ashraf.

Czech head coach Trucha made a number of changes to his starting lineup from the team that drew 0-0 with UiTM FC in Matchweek 4. Azmeer Aris and Ryuji Utomo were left out of the defense, with their places being filled in by Azwan Aripin and Latiff Suhaimi. Endrick was also left out of the starting lineup, with former Kelantan FC man Ashraf replacing the Brazilian in the first 11.

Penang haven’t won a game away at Selangor since 2006, when the Panthers saw off the Red Giants 2-0 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium. In the next 15 years, Penang went up and down the Malaysian football pyramid, languishing at one point in the third-tier of Malaysian football, meaning that league meetings with Selangor were quite rare. The last time Penang traveled away to Selangor in the Liga Super, the Panthers succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at the Selayang Stadium all the way back in 2017.

The two teams exchanged attack after attack after the referee blew for kick-off, with an early header from David Rowley hitting the roof of Khairulazhan Khalid’s goal and Selangor threatening Samuel Somerville in the Penang goal a number of times through the likes of Aliff Haiqal, Brendan Gan, and Shahrel Fikri. However despite Selangor dictating the pace of the game, it was Penang who managed to drew first blood in the 37th minute.

Penang’s Brazilian striker Casagrande managed to head the ball long from the midfield, with the ball being well-received by Tajikistan international Sheriddin Boboev deep within the Selangor half. Sheriddin squeezed his way past a number of Selangor defenders before laying the ball off towards Harun, who thundered in a venomous right-footed shot that went past Khairulazhan and into the bottom left corner of the goal.

Both Ifedayo Olusegun and Safuwan Baharudin squandered a couple of golden chances for Selangor in the second half, before Penang slammed home the decisive killing blow in the 72nd minute. A long through ball from Khairu Azrin was picked-up rather enthusiastically by Ashraf, who caught the Selangor defense napping. Breaking the offside trap, Ashraf easily went around an onrushing Khairulazhan before curling a shot into the empty goal, ensuring that Penang would leave the Petaling Jaya Stadium with all three points thanks to their 2-0 victory over the wasteful Red Giants.

The rest of Saturday’s Matchweek 5 action saw two penalties from former TIRA-Persikabo and Persela Lamongan man Alex Goncalves ensuring a 2-1 win for Melaka United over Kuala Lumpur City at the Hang Jebat Stadium. The three points was Melaka’s first of the 2021 season having drawn all four of their previous game and it came as a huge relief for the Mousedeers, who recently received a 3-point deduction from the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) for not complying with the association’s repayment scheme to settle their debts.

Bottom side UiTM lost yet again to continue their dismal start to the season, with the Lion Troops succumbing to a 1-0 defeat at the UiTM Stadium at the hands of Kedah Darul Aman.

Matchweek 5 continues on Sunday with Sabah FC hosting Terengganu FC at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu, Petaling Jaya City taking on Sri Pahang FC at the Petaling Jaya Stadium, and defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim traveling to Ipoh to take on Perak FC at the Perak Stadium.