BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Selangor gained the edge in their quarter-final tie FA Cup against Klang Valley derby rivals Kuala Lumpur, following a tense first leg tie that ended in a 3-0 win for the Red Giants. Willian Pacheco opened the scoring in the 20th minute before Rufino Segovia doubled their lead four minutes later in Cheras. Guilherme de Paula was sent off for remonstrating moments later, before Rufino buried the hosts with his second in second half injury time.
The hosts started without their Uzbek defender Bobur Akbarov who was sent off in their round three win over Melaka United, which allowed under fire Brazilian attacker Junior Aparecido to return to the starting line-up. Despite the fact goalkeeper Solehin Mamat was the hero against Melaka in the penalty shootout, he too was sidelined due to an injury and Kamarul Effandi Abdul Rahim returned between the sticks. Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak, who shined for Malaysia in their 7-0 win over Bhutan in their friendly last Sunday with his four goals, also started this match. Foreigners Guilherme, Paulo Josue and Ahmad Jufriyanto Tohir were fielded at the start by head coach Fabio Maciel.
The visitors meanwhile started without their injured captain Razman Roslan, while Joseph Kalang Tie and Azamuddin Akil were also on the crock list. The four-foreigner cup quota meant underperforming Alfonso de la Cruz was left out of the matchday squad by head coach Nazliazmi Nasir, who was recently handed a permanent job after having taken over as caretaker coach earlier, while Evan Dimas Darmono, Ilham Armaiyn, Pacheco and star striker Rufino started. Young star Syahmi Safari, handed his first ever Malaysia cap against Bhutan, returned to the starting line-up.
KL went into the match the better team on recent records with four wins and one defeat, while Selangor were on two wins and three defeats. However, the Red Giants were the better side by a country mile on head-to-head, not having lost to the Hawks since 2007.
But things went south early for the visitors, when Syahmi had to be taken off in the ninth minute for an injury. Nazliazmi brought on Kugan Dhevarajan in his place. Just minutes later, veteran forward Amri Yahyah was booked for a reckless challenge.
Evan came close to opening the scoring in the 15th minute, following a cross from his Indonesian compatriot Ilham on the left, but struck too high.
But the first goal came in the 20th minute, when the lanky Pacheco headed in an Amri freekick from the left, beating the challenge of goalkeeper Kamarul.
Just four minutes later, another poor goalkeeping by Kamarul led to a quick second by the visitors, when he failed to block a lobbed through pass properly and allowed Rufino Segovia to squeeze it in past him.
As if their situation wasn't bad enough, in the 26th minute things went from bad to worse for the Hawks. Former Selangor man Guilherme reacted to a tough tackle by Halim Zainal by slapping the midfielder, resulting in his immediate sending off by referee Suhaizi Shukri.
Rufino could have made it 3-0 in the 32nd minute, but he couldn't connect with a teasing cross from the right by Kugan.
Zaquan almost pulled one back for KL following a positive solo move in the Selangor penalty box, but Norazlan continued his fine form from their round three win by blocking the forward's try from close range.
Frustrated, Zaquan cynically brought down Amri from behind minutes later, but this time the referee kept his cards.
Four minutes from halftime, defender Firdaus Faudzi appeared to have elbowed Kannan Kalaiselvan out of frustration at the latter's shirt-tugging, but again the ref showed leniency.
During the first half injury time, the Selangor ultras were already singing celebratory songs.
The first half ended 2-0 to the visitors, but more handbags erupted when the players were making their way into the tunnel, involving even both benches.
For some reason, Fabio thought it wise to remonstrate with the ref by touching Amri's neck, not once but twice. The former Malaysia international comically milked the chance and dropped to the ground and KL players reacted to his playacting, which in turn drew their opponents' ire, but fortunately, no physical act followed and the ref kept his cards, this time rightly.
At the start of the second half Fabio changed Kamarul for Khatul Anuar, and Khatul did not have to wait long to be called to action, producing a flying save to keep out Evan's shot from outside the box.
Rufino again missed the chance to make it three in the 64th minute, even with Khatul off his line, only managing to allow his shot to be deflected behind by a defender.
The Red Giants were more than capable of killing the game, but they took it too casually and took their foot off the gas.
Fabio finished off all of his changes in the 72nd minute, taking off Junior for Zhafri Yahya and Indra Putra Mahyuddin for Ashri Chuchu.
Their contentment almost allowed KL to pull one back, but Paulo's shot only rolled across their goalmouth.
Fortunately, Rufino found his second and Selangor's third of the night in injury time, handing the Red Giants a comfortable lead for the second leg tie in two weeks' time.
KUALA LUMPUR: Kamarul (GK) (Khatul 45'), Jufriyanto, Hisyamudin, Firdaus, Irfan, Syazwan, Indra (C) (Ashri 72'), Paulo, Junior (Zhafri 72'), Zaquan, Guilherme.
SELANGOR: Norazlan (GK), Pacheco, Ashmawi, Kannan, Namathevan, Halim (Saiful 66'), Evan, Ilham (Shahrul 83'), Amri (C), Syahmi (Kugan 9'), Rufino.