# The Red Giants could end a 10-year wait
# Last won the Malaysia Cup in 2005
Mehmet Durakovic is the man who succeeded where others failed and Selangor, better known as the Red Giants, are celebrating their first Malaysia Cup final since 2008 after downing defending champions Pahang in the two-leg semi-finals 2-0 on aggregate.
The Australian coach threw the 32-times Malaysia Cup champions the lifeline to Selangor’s famous “Mission 33” that became rusty over the years since winning the most sought after silverware in Malaysian football way back in 2005.
That was year when Selangor defeated Perlis 3-0 in the final and since then reached the final only once and that was in 2008 when Kedah beat the Red Giants 3-2 to win the silverware.
In the process Kedah completed a grand treble – retaining the Malaysia Cup, the FA Cup and the League – they had won the in 2007.
Come this Saturday it will be a repeat final of 2008. Many believe it will be a epic final between the Red Giants and the newly crowned Premier League champions who ply their trade in the elite Super League next season.
Things have gone Selangor’s way under Durakovic who keeps reminding that he has “no stars” in the team that has shown commitment, discipline and teamwork to come this far in the country’s oldest football competition.
“We have no stars, no big names. Just a bunch of fighters who give everything each time we take the field,” says the Australian who is also proud of Malaysia Cup winner’s medal during his playing days with Selangor from 1995-1997.
“The team I have is fantastic. Everyone deserves a pat for reaching the Malaysia Cup final.with him as a player.
“The Malaysia Cup is one thing after many said we will just about finish somewhere in the middle in the league…but we are now second in the Super League and we will play in the AFC Cup,” said a beaming Durakovic.
Selangor were not given a chance of making the Malaysia Cup final against defending champions Pahang but the Red Giants stunned the Elephants with an emphatic 2-0 at Shah Alam on Sunday.
The first-leg played at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan ended scoreless and this is where Durakovic smelt success in the return-leg.
And it was a night when Selangor goalkeeper Norazlan Razali once again played a key role in his team’s success – stopping every shot that was taken at his goal which left Dickson Nwakaeme, Matias Conti, Hafiz Kamal frustrated.
For Selangor it was a case of taking their chances well with Australian Guilherme De Paula getting a surprise goal in the 11th minute when he he plundered an unstoppable shot past Khairul Azhan.
Then came Nazmi Faiz Mansor’s out of the blue shot that sailed into the Khairul’s top left corner.
Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan was a disappointed man that his team could not make it count when it mattered.
“We had our chances but simply could not get the ball into the Selangor net. That made the difference on a night when Selangor had two chances and made it count.
“It is disappointing but that’s football,” said Zainal who has been rumoured to leave the Elephants for a new team next season.