Hazwan double powers Selangor to record 33rd Malaysia Cup
Two goals from Ahmad Hazwan Bakri gave Selangor a 2-0 win over Kedah in the final of the 2015 Malaysia Cup at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday night and a record 33rd triumph in the competition.
Misi 33 -- Mission 33 -- was finally accomplished with well-taken goals in each half. Fittingly, they came in the third minute of both halves, although Hazwan -- and all Red Giants followers in the 70,000 capacity crowd -- owe a debt to Guilherme de Paula, who made both goals.
It was vindication for Selangor boss Mehmet Durakovic. The Australian has steered the team to second in the league and now to cup glory at a time when the rumour mill has long stated he is on his way out of the club ahead of next season.
Whatever the long term holds, the former club captain was soon celebrating a goal worthy of winning any final.
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Shortly after kick-off De Paula collected the ball just inside his own half and conjured an assist to make Pirlo proud. A deft pass from the outside of the right boot curled around the yellow defence line and into the path of Hazwan who controlled beautifully, advanced into the right side of the area and deftly slipped the ball past the advancing Firdaus Muhamad with his left foot.
Kedah tried to hit back but while the newly promoted team saw plenty of the ball, they lacked a cutting edge or the touch of class that De Paula and Hazwan produced.
Hazwan was not quite as impressive midway through the first half, picking up a booking for a very late challenge on Liridon Krasniqi that sparked a mass brawl -- one of five yellows in the first half alone.
The Kosovan almost got his revenge moments later, chipping the ball over Selangor keeper Norazlan Razali from outside the area that just cleared the left hand post. Norazlan was later called into action to tip over a Rizal Ghazali piledriver from just outside the area.
Three minutes into the second half and Selangor, de Paula and Hazwan did it again.
The Brazilian broke free and while his assist was not quite as spectacular as for the first goal, it was just as effective. A little poke to the left freed Hazwan but, standing on the left corner of the area, he still had plenty to do. His first left-foot shot was beat Firdaus to end up low in the opposite corner.
After 65 minutes, Kedah almost pulled a goal back. Krasniqi dispossessed Rahmi on the edge of the area, got to the byline and chipped in an inviting cross for Farhan Roslan, unmarked in the six yard box. But it was a little too high for the diminutive teenager and the header looped over the bar.
Two minutes later and the 2007 and 2008 treble winners came even closer. Edeh slipped the ball through a crowded area into the path of Sandro da Silva but Norazlan came out quickly to block the low shot from the Brazilian.
Hazwan was subbed off to raptorous applause and his goalscoring ability was missed. Replacement S. Veenod burst through the increasingly advanced Kedah backline but shot straight at the keeper.
Soon after Veenod burst through again, this time more centrally, and while Firdaus saved the shot, he did so outside his area and was sent off. The scent of victory was even stronger in the nostrils of the Selangor fans and the volume increased.
It was so comfortable that the the celebrations started before the final whistle sounded. They will go on long into the night. Mission 33 has been successfully accomplished and Durakovic become the first foreigner to lift the Malaysia Cup as a coach and player.