A first-half horror show from national goalkeeper Mohd Helmi Eliza allowed Selangor to lift the Charity Shield with a stylish 4-1 victory over 10-man Kedah at the Darulaman Stadium here last night.

A brace from skipper Mohd Amri Yahyah and strikes from Zameer Zainun and Safee Sali allowed K. Devan to deliver a silverware in just his first competitive match as Selangor coach. But the Red Giants, who ended a nine-match winless streak against the Canaries with last night’s win, had the bungling Helmi to thank for the victory. The win also earned Selangor three points for their 2009 Super League challenge.

The treble champions fell behind after just three minutes following a costly mistake by Kedah skipper A. Victor. The experienced defender hauled down national striker Safee right on the edge of the box. Stung by the early goal, the Canaries went in search of an equaliser but were let down by their toothless front-line led by new signing Azrul Ahmad.

Instead, it was the Red Giants who looked more dangerous every time they broke away to make quick counter-attacks. And it did not come as a surprise when the visitors went two-up after 33 minutes. Youngster Zameer was given acres of space on the right flank to make a long-range attempt at goal. To the Selangor player’s delight, Helmi made a hash of the save and allowed the ball to trickle over the line.

Helmi, who came under fire for his mistakes during Malaysia’s 2-3 defeat to Vietnam during last month’s Suzuki Cup, was again at fault for Selangor’s third goal just two minutes later. He came off his line to collect a swinging free-kick from R. Surendren, but was beaten to the ball by the nippy Amri who headed into an unguarded net. Helmi’s confidence was clearly shattered, and it was only a matter of minutes before Ke­­dah coach Mohd Azraai Khor substituted him with Al-Hafiz Hamzah.

The home side came out with their guns blazing in the second half, with Khyril Muhymeen and Afif Amiruddin both coming close to beating Mohd Hamsani Ahmad in the Selangor goal. But Kedah’s comeback hopes were dashed in the 54th minute after striker Mohd Farizal Rozali was sent off by referee Subkhiddin Salleh for planting his studs into Hamsani’s face after the keeper dived to make a save. Selangor immediately capitalised on their one-man advantage. Safee made it 4-0 in the 58th minute when his shot from the edge of the box hit the upright and sailed into goal.

Midfielder Khyril’s strike for Kedah in the dying minutes proved to be nothing more than a face-saving gesture in front of the sell-out 30,000 crowd. TheStarOnline


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