Faris Ramli made the difference when he came off the bench to score the winning penalty to help Selangor Selection win the 2018 Sultan of Selangor’s (SOS) Cup win 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation time against the Singapore Selection side.
The game was decided by a shootout, after Rufino Segovia had cancelled out Shuhei Hoshino’s opener for the Singapore Selection – with both goals coming in the first half.
It was déjà vu for Faris, who was part of the Singapore Selection team that defeated Selangor Selection 3-2 at Singapore’s National Stadium last year.
This is Selangor Selection’s first SOS Cup win since 2014. The 2015 edition was cancelled due to haze, while Singapore Selection prevailed in 2016 and 2017.
In front of a packed crowd at Shah Alam, the Singapore Selection got off to the best possible start by scoring after just nine minutes.
Hoshino’s persistence on winning the ball back after scuffing his initial shot in the box paid off, as he shrugged off Selangor Selection’s Australian centre-back Zac Anderson before slotting home from eight yards out to put Marko Kraljevic’s side 1-0 up.
That goal woke the hosts up from their slumber as they restored parity just six minutes later through a Selangor FA combination.
Amri Yahyah’s cleverly-lofted free-kick into the area picked out his club teammate Rufino Segovia, who towered over his marker in the area to power a header past Singapore Selection goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam.
Selangor Selection rose in confidence and could have netted another goal late into the first half, but Rufino headed wide from right-back Nik Shahrul’s cross before Khyril Muhymeen similarly fired off-target from outside the area.
Datuk K Rajagobal’s side remained the more dangerous side early into the second half, with young Columbian midfielder Romel Morales seeing his 30-yard piledriver beaten away by Zaiful on 60 minutes after going on a rampaging run through the middle.
Selangor duly introduced Faris into the fray to replace Anderson and the Singaporean almost made an immediate impact – forcing Zaiful into a near-post save from a tight angle on 62 minutes.
The pendulum, however, swung Singapore’s way going into the latter stages of the game as they threatened to score on a number of occasions.
First it was Hoshino, whose cheeky 25-yard effort on 68 minutes almost looped into goal before Selangor Selection custodian Shahril Sa’ari pulled off a spectacular save to tip it over the bar.
Four minutes later, his Albirex Niigata FC (S) teammate Wataru Murofushi thrashed wide from the edge of the area after a superb solo run.
They then had a legitimate penalty shout turned down by referee Sivakorn Pu Udom on 75 minutes, with Razman Roslan’s push on Hoshino in the box going unpunished.
Disrupted by multiple substitutions from both sides, the game ended a 1-1 draw in regulation time and had to be decided by penalties.
Hoshino and Hazzuwan Halim both netted to cancel out efforts from Amri and Rufino, before Daniel Ting converted to put Selangor 3-2 ahead.
Irfan Najeeb then saw his penalty saved by Shahril – handing the initiative to Selangor Selection.
Jafri Firdaus Chew then scored for the hosts before Huzaifah Aziz kept Singapore Selection in the game by converting to make it 4-3.
However, the last laugh belonged to Selangor Selection as Faris stepped up and duly sent Zaiful the wrong way to condemn his Singaporean compatriots to their first defeat in four years.
Selangor Selection: Shahril Sa’ari (GK), Nik Shahrul Azim, Zac Anderson ((Faris Ramli 60’), Razman Roslan (K. Reuben 78’), P. Gunalan (C) (M. Sivakumar 67’), K Gurusamy (Daniel Ting 42’), Mahali Jasuli (Rodney Celvin 60’), Romel Morales, Amri Yahyah, Khyril Muhymeen (Jafri Firdaus Chew 67’), Rufino Segovia
Singapore Selection: Zaiful Nizam (GK), Fadli Kamis (Emmeric Ong 67’), Irfan Najeeb, Kento Fukuda, Hafiz Sujad (Ho Wai Loon 75’), Adam Swandi, Huzaifah Aziz, Wataru Murofushi (Ryutaro Megumi 87’), Iqbal Hussain (Hazzuwan Halim 85’), Yasir Hanapi (C) (Hami Syahin 78’), Shuhei Hoshino
Photo credit: The Sultan of Selangor’s Cup Facebook page