Sultan of Selangor Cup won by Singapore Selection on penalties
The Singapore Selection side lifted the 2016 Sultan of Selangor Cup via a 4-3 penalty shootout win over the Selangor Selection at Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday night, after the scores were tied at 1-1 at full-time.
Led by Home United coach Philippe Aw, 12 out of the 18-man squad came from the Bishan-based club. However, it was the Geylang International duo of Stanely Ng and Syazwan Buhari who stole the limelight in front of a partisan 75,000-strong crowd.
Stanely scored a late equaliser to cancel out R. Gopinathan's early goal for Selangor and force the game to penalties. Then, Syazwan saved two of the five penalties he faced to bring the Cup home for the Singapore representatives for the first time since 2011.
The win came despite Singapore playing with 10 men for more than 30 minutes and condemned Selangor to their second shootout defeat of 2016, after losing February's Charity Shield on penalties to Johor Darul Ta'zim.
Aw's men settled into the game the better of the two sides and nearly scored within 30 seconds of kickoff. But Stipe Plazibat's header, from Juma'at Jantan's deep cross, was well tipped over by Selangor keeper Khairul Azhan Khalid.
Selangor heeded the wake-up call and duly broke the deadlock in the 17th minute. Gopi fired a rasping piledriver past opposite custodian Hyrulnizam Juma'at from just inside the box after latching on to Ahmad Hazwan Bakri's scuffed shot.
Having struggled to create clear-cut chances for the remainder of the first half, Singapore Selection were lucky to go into the break just 1-0 down. Hyrulnizam first tipped a Razman Roslan cross onto the bar before repelling Robbie Cornthwaite's goalbound header at point blank range.
Things went from bad to worse for them nine minutes into the second half, with centre-back Shahrin Saberin sent off for a second bookable offence after hacking down Andik Vermansyah just outside the area.
However, the 10-man Singapore Selection side rallied and managed to find an unlikely equaliser on 77 minutes. Captain Juma'at Jantan's teasing low cross from the right was only half cleared into the path of Ng, who duly wrapped his left foot around the ball and curled home a beautiful finish.
That brought the game into the dreaded penalty shootout, with the Singapore Selection scoring their first four spot kicks while Selangor missed one out of four, with S. Subramaniam's effort parried by Syazwan.
Abdil Qaiyyim then spurned the chance to convert the winning penalty for Singapore Selection after seeing his attempt pushed away by Khairul Azhan. But that miss eventually mattered little. Syazwan then dived the right way to deny Razman's attempt and bring the Cup home for the visitors for the first time in five years.
Singapore Selection coach Aw paid tribute to the resilience of his players.
"When we went down to 10 men, the 10 players and the subs that came on were fantastic," he said. "We didn't just hoof the ball up top and lose possession; what's important is we kept the ball and played those short passes, which on this pitch, if you want to defend against short passes, it's very difficult.
"At 1-1, it was already a victory for us. It doesn't matter if we had lost the shootout, because the 10 men had done a fantastic job to equalise."
Earlier, in the curtain-raiser game played over two halves of 20 minutes, a strong Singapore Veterans side, with likes of Fandi Ahmad, Malek Awab and Rafi Ali, fell to a 2-0 loss to their Selangor counterparts.
Forward Shahrin Majid fired a close-range finish past Singapore keeper Shahri Rahim on 16 minutes before the iconic Dollah Salleh powered home a header nine minutes later to settle the affair.
Selangor Selection: Khairul Azhan Khalid (GK), Razman Roslan, Shahrom Kalam (C), Robbie Cornthwaite (Rizal Fahmi 66'), Azmi Muslim, Andik Vermansyah (Saiful Ridzuan Selamat 61'), Veenod Subramaniam (S. Subramaniam 78'), Nazmi Faiz, R Gopinathan (Raimi Nor 46'), Ahmad Hazwan Bakri (Adam Nor Azlin 46'), Patrick "Ronaldinho" Wleh (Abdul Hadi Yahya 53')
Singapore Selection: Hyrulnizam Juma'at (GK) (Syazwan Buhari 46'), Juma'at Jantan (C) (Syahiran Miswan 81'), Abdil Qaiyyim, Shahrin Saberin, Sirina Camara, Aqhari Abdullah (M. Anumanthan 68'), Zulfahmi Arifin, Shamil Sharif (Stanely Ng 46'), Stipe Plazibat (Song Uiyoung 56'), Amy Recha (Azhar Sairudin 46', Fareez Farhan 85'), Ken Ilso