Shah Alam: Paulo Rangel netted his second hat-trick in this season’s AFC Cup as Selangor ended their disappointing campaign on a positive note with a 4-1 win over Maldives side Maziya at the Shah Alam Stadium on Wednesday.
In a game with little but pride at stake for both teams, the visitors took an early lead through Abdulla Asadhulla but Rangel levelled the score before half-time and added two more goals in the second half before Azmi Muslim complete the rout with a late free-kick.
The victory saw Selangor move up to eight points in Group F, two behind second-placed Arema Indonesia, who lost 2-1 to group winners Hanoi T&T earlier on Wednesday. Maziya finished in last place with just a single point from six games.
While qualification for the knockout stage was already out of their reach, Selangor were determined to get a good positive result on their home ground and they made a positive start only to be caught on the counter-attack after nine minutes.
Maziya stole possession in midfield and Desmond Mansaray sprung the offside pass with a neat pass to Nashid Ahmed who drew the goalkeeper off his line before squaring the ball unselfishly for Asadhulla to tap home.
The goal stung the hosts into action and they equalised in the 34th minute when Azmi Musllim lofted a free-kick into the box and Rangel rose highest to head past Imran.
The Malaysian side dominated the second half and they went ahead for the first time in the 62nd minute when Rangel turned the ball in after receiving a pass from Afiq.
The Brazilian then capitalised on a defensive error to complete his hat-trick and net his seventh goal of the campaign in the 79th minute before Azmi rifled a free-kick into the top corner of the net to round off a 4-1 victory.
“I am happy that Selangor showed a very good and professional performance tonight,” said Selangor coach Mehmet Durakovic. “I was also pleased with the quality shown by Paulo Rangel because he is an important player for Selangor in every game.
"I admit that our performance in the second half was better than the first half because as you can see, Selangor created many opportunities in the second half.
"I also want to congratulate Maziya because they also exhibited good football and they gave us a great challenge. Now, I'm hoping Selangor will get a chance to play in the AFC Cup again next season.”