A move that leads to 'RM1.9m goal' for Selangor

KUALA LUMPUR: A tactical change by coach Tan Cheng Hoe led to Selangor scoring a RM1.9 million goal and a ticket to the Asian Champions League 2 (ACL 2).

On Saturday at the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Star, Cheng Hoe took out Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi at the start of the second half and brought in Brendan Gan,

As it turned out, Brendan made a good cross to Colombian Ayron Del Valle who scored the all important goal in the 63rd minute.

It was enough to give Selangor three points and second place in the table (RM1.9m prize money) behind league champions Johor Darul Ta'zim.

It was a goal that broke the hearts of the sold-out crowd at Kedah's home ground.

Selangor have amassed 58 points from 25 games with one match left. Kedah have 53 points from 25 games.

Cheng Hoe said: "Brendan provided a surge of energy. He's someone who can play in various positions.

"In the first half, we couldn't dominate, and our defensive line was weak.

"But it isn't just Brendan. Everyone in the team played their part. And don't forget goalkeeper Sam Somerville who saved us from conceding goals."

In his 19 years as a coach, Cheng Hoe, 55, said achieving Selangor's target of qualifying for the Asian stage is something he will cherish.

"At the beginning, it was tough for the players to adapt to my style and playing philosophy. But everyone showed dedication and contributed to the team, so it's a sweet memory for me.

"It's not easy given the club's history, and there was pressure on me. But I stayed positive and took it as motivation," said Cheng Hoe.

The last time Selangor made it to the AFC Cup (renamed ACL 2) was back in 2016 but they failed to reach the knockout stage, finishing third in their group with eight points from six games.

Kedah coach Nafuzi Zain said he was s proud of his men despite their loss to Selangor as they had given their everything.

He said despite Kedah having no regular national players, they finished in the top four in the table, and that is more than he could ask for.

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