Selangor 2’s performance and result in their latest Malaysia Premier League match mirrored those of their first team’s, just one day earlier.
Just like their first team the night before, the young Selangor reserve team played well enough in their Malaysia Premier League match against Negeri Sembilan on Saturday, to dominate possession and control the game.
When their sole foreign player, Bajram Nebihi was introduced at the start of the second half when the scoreline was tied at 1-1, he helped them control the middle of the park better and caused the hosts to be pinned in their own half for much of the game.
Unfortunately, just like their first team the night before in the Malaysia Super League, who could only come away with an unimpressive 1-1 draw at home against Melaka United, Selangor 2 were not able on the many chances they created, and the result they surely had wanted eluded them instead.
With three minutes remaining on the clock, a rare Negeri incursion into the Selangor 2 penalty box resulted in the ball being knocked into a defender’s arm. Referee Fitri Maskon, who had earlier been the target of the Selangor 2 bench remonstrations for his calls, duly blew his whistle for a penalty, and Almir Neto converted the spot kick for the late winner.
Speaking to the press after the match, Selangor 2 head coach and club technical director Michael Feichtenbeiner was nevertheless satisfied with his young charges’ performance in the encounter at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium, Seremban.
Michael Feichtenbeiner. Photo by Andreas Schlichter/Getty Images/DFB
“I must say that my players did really well, the only thing we can blame ourselves for is that we didn’t put away our chances. We had so many of them, we dominated the game. It’s not easy for young players to keep pressing, combine, play high in the opponent’s half and for very young local defenders to guard against long balls and good foreign strikers…But I’m totally happy with my team. They couldn’t have played much better. From the start of the second half, Negeri couldn’t play.
“I’m also not happy with the referee today; if we want to play transititonal football, more modern football, he must let the game play out instead of repeatedly blowing his whistle. I need to review the video, but I think we should have been awarded a penalty too, which maybe would have allowed us to win the match. But yes, my young boys were good, really good in their second half,” he explained.
The German however acknowledged that scoring was their main weakness when asked by Goal, but explained that it was an expected situation when fielding young local forwards.
“This of course has to be improved upon, but this happens with every team in the world. Any coach would want his team to create chances first and my young players need more experience in this situation. Scoring a goal is the most difficult thing in football. If you don’t have a Lewandowski, a Ronaldo or Messi, you will always run into this kind of problem. You can create chances, but you need a Messi to convert the chances.
“Even PSG and Pep Guardiola at Manchester City run into this trouble every now and then. But we must keep on working on it so that hopefully in the future, Danial [Asri], Ashraf [Nasir] or Aliff Haiqal will be able to take their chances. Aliff for example had two chances tonight, but it was only his third senior level match after joining us from the President’s Cup squad. I don’t want to blame him, but we will learn from it.
“To [have players who can] score goals, you need a lot of small-sided games in training and not just shooting practice without opponents. I prefer small-sided games that focus on finishing for our players. Hopefully they will be better in one year. We had scored in earlier matches, but not tonight, and this is our problem, not something that we can blame on others,” noted the former MPPJ FC head coach.
The match was also Nebihi’s first competitive action in almost half a year, due to the Covid-19 competitions suspension, as well as Feichtenbeiner’s insistence on giving the club’s local youngsters playing minutes.
“We (reserve teams in the Premier League) can’t be relegated [this season], so we want to use the chance to improve our young players.” said the 60-year old trainer. “I had signed Bajram early in the season because I was afraid that by playing with only local players, we would end up relegated, which would jeopardise this whole project.
“The players however improved after the first few matches and I became confident that we can avoid relegation without foreign players. He then went to train with the first team for the past three months, but with the return of the first team foreigners, he too was returned to my team. I explained to him that I want to work on the local players. He’s not really happy because he wants to start all the games, but he understands that the project is to develop players for our Super League team.”