Selangor march into Malaysia Cup semis after Shah Alam win over PKNS
Nazmi Faiz's second-half goal was enough to book Selangor a Malaysia Cup semifinal berth, as the Red Giants edged PKNS FC 1-0 in the second leg quarterfinals at Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday night.
Selangor, who won the first leg 4-3, were under intense pressure to win the tie, with third place in the domestic league almost out of sight.
With Hazwan Bakri and Adam Nor Azlin benched, the onus fell on Patrick 'Ronaldinho' Wleh to lead Selangor's attack against his parent club.
But it was PKNS who gave the hosts an early scare in the seventh minute, as Gabriel Guerra saw his fierce drive beaten away by Khairul Azhan.
However, once Selangor found their rhythm, they were all over PKNS and should have have taken the lead in the 23rd minute. Norhaziq could only parry R. Gopinathan's effort into Andik Vermanshah's path, and the Indonesian, despite rounding the goalkeeper, saw his effort cleared off the line.
The 33-time champions continued to pressure their opponents, with livewire Gopinathan in the thick of all their attacking chances. The winger saw his close range flick land straight at Norhaziq before his sublime 30-metre curler smacked off the post.
Juan Manuel Cobelli then matched Gopinathan's effort from a similar distance, and saw his piledriver just clear the crossbar, as the teams went into the break goalless.
Selangor picked up where they left off after the break, and went ahead in the 55th minute.
Vermanshah's pace took him to the edge of the right wing, and his low cross found Nazmi Faiz, who arrived in the box to sweep home into the top corner. That goal meant that the maverick midfielder matched his goal tally of two from 2015.
Nazmi's strike also spurred the 3000 or so fans gathered to rouse their side for a second goal. It almost came through substitute Adam Nor Azlin, who saw his shot smothered by Norhaziq. Nazmi was to have the game's last chance, but failed to find a way past the custodian who was the best player for PKNS.
It did not matter as the Red Giants marched into the semifinals, with the 5-3 victory on aggregate, to keep their season alive and kicking.
They will face T-Team in the last four after the Terengganu-based outfit stunned Felda United, who are second on the Malaysia Super League table.
A goal from midfielder Dilshod Sharofetdinov in the 78th minute was good enough for a 1-0 victory on the night, and 2-1 on aggregate.
Elsewhere, 2015 losing finalists Kedah put Negeri Sembilan to the sword in a 5-0 hammering at Alor Setar. The two sides had drawn 0-0 in last month's first leg at Paroi.
Two goals in nine first-half minutes from New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz set the home side on the way to victory before Brazilian import Thiago Augusto got a brace of his own either side of half-time. Liridon Krasniqi completed the rout in the dying stages.
Kedah will face PDRM FA in the last four after the Cops knocked out Kelantan on the away goals' rule, despite a 1-0 home defeat. The Cops and the Red Warriors drew 2-2 on aggregate, but the Klang Valley-based side prevailed because they'd scored twice in Kota Bharu last month.
It means that Singapore international midfielder Safuwan Baharudin has a chance of playing in a domestic Cup final for a second consecutive year, having won the 2015 Malaysia FA Cup with LionsXII.
Selangor: Khairul Azhan (GK), Azmi Muslim, Patrick 'Ronaldinho' Wleh, Andik Vermanshah (C), Saiful Ridzuwan Selamat (Adam Nor Azlin 81'), Nazmi Mansor, Bunyamin Umar, Rizal Fahmi, Ugo Ukah, S. Subramaniam, R. Gopinathan
PKNS: Shahrul Azhar Ture, Munir Amran (Alif Haikal 60'), Khairu Azrin, Nazrin Syamsulbahri, Gonzalo Soto (C), Gabriel Guerra, Shakir Ali (Shahurain Samah 82'), Nizam Abu Bakar, Norhaziq Md Aris (GK), Matias Hadwa