On a cold and chilly night on a wet and slippery Shah Alam Stadium pitch it was a tale of Selangor finally laying their hands of the much sought after silverware – the prestigious Malaysia Cup with a 2-0 win over Kedah in the final.
The 2-0 victory over the Red Eagles saw the Red Giants accomplish their long awaited “Mission 33” – ending Selangor’s 10-year wait for the title – thanks to a brace by Labuan-born Ahmad Hazwan Bakri.
Hazwan netted in the opening minutes of both halfs on a night Kedah were reduced to 10 players after goalkeeper Firdaus Muhamad was sent off four minutes from time for handling the ball with his hands outside his box in a bid to stop Selangor’s S. Veeno’s attempt.
Kedah were a big flop once the Selangor side read their game and did not allow their opponents from their short passing game.
Kedah coach Tan Cheng Hoe flew back from China where he is doing his pro-licence just for the match but it turned out to be disappointment for the former international who was once the assistant to former national chief coach Datuk K. Rajagobal.
“It was just not our day. We made mistakes when we failed to bring on our short passing game on a wet and slippery pitch,” said Cheng Hoe.
“But this is a good Kedah side which should learn from what happened in the Malaysia Cup final. It is disappointing to lose but we have to march on and look forward to our campaign in the Super League next season.
“We will be richer in experience despite the defeat in the Malaysia Cup final. The younger players will must learn from their mistakes and put the disappointment aside to prepare for the new season.”
Australia Mehmet Durakovic, the Selangor chief coach will be credited for the success of “Mission 33” which had long gathered dust but he will also go down as the first foreigner to win the Malaysia Cup as a player and coach.
Durakovic won the Malaysia Cup winner’s medal with Selangor when he donned the Red Giant colours from 1995 – 1997,
Rumours are that the 50-year-old Durakovic maybe replaced for the new season but for now it is time to celebrate the big win. It does not bother him the least.
“I am not interested in any of the rumours, For now it is time to celebrate. The players need every pat on the back. They deserve for bringing the trophy back to Selangor…something which we will cherish,” said Durakovic.
“I will not single out any player but the whole team deserves credit. We are the Malaysia Cup champions and we are in the AFC Cup next season, It was a great season for a team that was not given much hope at the start of the year.”
Hazwan was aptly named Man of the Match for contributions on the night.
“This Malaysia Cup win is for the Selangor fans who gave their support through thick and thin,” said the newly married Hazwan.