New signing Victor Stelian Astafei headed home a late equaliser against newly promoted Melaka United as 2015 Malaysia Cup winners Selangor maintained their unbeaten start to the 2017 Malaysia Super League season on Friday night.
The 1-1 draw at Selayang Stadium comes after a 2-0 victory over Penang last Saturday, providing an unlikely, bright start for a team with problems behind the scenes.
At Larkin Stadium, reigning MSL champions Johor Darul Ta'zim outplayed their 2016 adversaries Felda United in a 3-1 victory, thanks to goals from Fadli Shas, Gonzalo Cabrera and Brian Ferreira.
Felda were holding JDT at 1-1 until the visitors' Hasnizaidi Jamian was shown a red card in the 59th minute.
JDT went ahead two minutes later through Cabrera, and then never loosened their grip on the game, in front of 18,320 fans in Johor Bahru.
2017 SUPER LEAGUE | 27TH JANUARY 2017
Live update 61'
JDT [1-1] FELDA UNITED
(Fadhli Shas 26')
(Norshahrul Idlan Talaha 22') pic.twitter.com/GRubHrA2N7
- JOHORSouthernTigers (@OfficialJohor) January 27, 2017
Pahang ran out the biggest winners of the night with a 5-0 annihilation of T-Team, while Syazwan Zainon turned out to be the hero for Kedah, as the Canaries edged Sarawak 3-2 at Darul Aman Stadium.
At Selayang Stadium, Melaka had their first crack at Selangor's goal when Ahmad Khuzaimi Piee forced a save from Norazlan Razali through a free kick that was creeping in on 14 minutes.
From then on, the home side took over, as Ugo Ukah came close with a header that he ballooned high from close range.
It was S. Veenod's turn to have a shot at goal. But the hardworking midfielder, deployed by P. Maniam as a winger for the night, was equally wayward on the half-hour mark.
Five minutes later, Veenod had the best chance of the first half when he cut in from the right wing, and tested Badrulzaman with a stiff grounder.
The custodian did well to parry his effort, and followed it up with an even better stop to deny Forkey Doe from the rebound.
The Red Giants continued to hover in, and around, Melaka's penalty area. Young forward Adam Nor Azlin was next to try his luck, but could not register a shot on target as the first half ended goalless.
The second half seem to be lacking in any worthy action until Khairu Azrin popped up with a moment of quality to put the visitors in the lead after 75 minutes.
Sergio Aguero, who's not related to the Manchester City striker, picked up possession on the edge of the penalty box, and found the midfielder in space around 30 yards out.
Khairu steadied himself, and curled a sublime effort into the top corner, past a fully stretched Norazlan.
Selangor were heading to their first defeat of 2017 until Romanian winger Astafei glanced home a deft header past Badrulzaman in the 85th minute to ensure that the teams shared the spoils.
In an earlier game, Lebanese striker Mohammad Ghaddar marked his return to Kelantan's side with a brace, as the Red Warriors doomed PKNS FC to their second defeat of the season, courtesy of a 3-1 triumph at Shah Alam Stadium.
In the Premier League, Safuwan Baharuddin's PDRM FA fell to a 1-0 loss away to Terengganu.
Selangor: Norazlan Razali (GK), Abdul Halim Zainal (Victor Stelian 57'), Saiful Riduwan Selamat, Adam Nor Azlin (K. Kalaiselvan 83'), Francis Forkey Doe, Razman Roslan (C), Raimi Mohd Nor, Rizal Fahmi (Afiq Azmi 84'), Ugo Ukah, Syahmi Safari, S. Veenod
Melaka United: Badrulzaman Abd Halim (GK), Ahmed Ezrie Shafizie, Ilija Spasojevic (C), Sergio Aguero, Ahmad Khuzaimi Piee, Khairu Azrin Khazali (Faizal Muhammad 78'), Amri Yahyah, Syed Sobri, Godwin Antwi, Khair Jones, G. Puvaneswaran