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Thursday May 11, 2006

Singapore wins Sultan of Selangor's Cup


SINGAPORE: Singapore football bade farewell to the soon to be demolished National Stadium on a winning note and wrote history in the annual Sultan of Selangor's Cup match against Selangor Selection last night. 

The S-League Selection beat Selangor 3-0 and they not only registered their first victory in five attempts in the series but also laid their hands on the new majestic trophy and the S$22,000 prize that came with it. 

It was not a Malaysia Cup or a Super League match. But it was one that many looked forward to bring back memories of the keen rivalry between the two sides in Malaysian football of the yesteryears. 

The Kallang Roar has also lost its loudness but still some 25,000 fans turned up in the 55,000-capacity stadium to watch the proceedings last night. 

Singapore definitely have had enough of being the losers in the previous editions of the series. They were the more motivated side last night and played the better game. 

The Lions never looked back after taking a fifth minute lead through their Croatian striker Mirko Grabovac. Then Brazilian Peres De Oliveira gave them a further cushion in the dying seconds of the first half. 

And Khairul Amri Mohammad virtually sealed the match for Singapore with the third goal in the 55th minute. 

The defeat for Selangor Selection underlined the form of Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) and the state side in the Super League. 

MPPJ, who are in seventh spot in the eight-team league with two matches to go, provided the bulk of the team for the match. And bottom-placed Selangor had four – Ba Sheikh, Brian Fuentes, Bambang Pamungkas and Faizal Rashid. 

Singapore, whose previous best effort in the series was a 2-2 draw in 2004 for joint champions, took the initiative right from the start and it was their foreign connection who made a lot of difference as their opponents struggled to find their rhythm. 

Indonesian striker Bambang was a pale shadow upfront while Argentine Fuentes fared no better in midfield for Selangor. 

The Selangor backline, marshalled by K. Nanthakumar, also struggled to get their act together. They allowed another of the Singapore foreigners, Thai Sutee Suksomkit, to cross the ball for Grabovac to plant free header past goalkeeper Faizal. 

It set the tone for Singapore to carve out a three-goal victory. 

Selangor's best chance to score fell for Bambang in the 23rd minute but he shot the ball into the when he shot to the arms of goalkeeper Lionel Lewis. Then in the 30th minute, he sent the ball wide. 

The Sultan of Selangor presented his trophy to the Singapore side. 

 

Singapore: Lionel Lewis (Hassan Sunny), Noh Rahman, Boyko Simeonov (Isa Halim), Sead Muratovic, Mirko Grabovac (Khairul Amri), Peres de Oliveira (Ishak Zainol), Precious Emuejeraye, Daniel Bennett, Mustafic Manzur (Kenji Arai), Mustaqim Manzur (Shogo Yoshigawa). 

Selangor: Faizal Rashid, Chan Wing Hoong, Ba Sheikh (Lim Chan Yew), Yuri Che Lah (Rachid Zmama), Brian Fuentes (Ben Newton Katanha), Tengku Hazman Raja Hassan (Haris Safwan), Fauzie Nan, K. Nanthakumar, Khaironnisam Sahabudin, Juan Manuel Arostegui (Liew Kit Kong), Bambang Pamungkas (Amir Shahreen). 

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