BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Selangor faced little challenge in their first Asia Challenge pre-season tournament match on Saturday, downing Indonesia's Persib Bandung 3-0 at the Shah Alam Stadium.
Playing against a side that is participating without their key players, head coach B. Satiananthan was able to field many of his charges, while ensuring that they came away with a win. All the goals came in the first half courtesy of Taylor Regan (10'), Sandro da Silva (41') and Syahmi Safari (45').
Commenting on the match, the experienced trainer praised the 36-year old Sandro's longevity and his team's fitness.
"Sandro seems to be getting younger these days," joked the former Malaysia head coach. "It was a game that we deserved to win because Persib are not well-prepared. But most importantly was my boys kept their shape even after the substitutions and they created a lot of chances.
"I'm also happy with their fitness, as it is our sixth week of [pre-season] training. The intensity was there, even the substitutes. The only thing I was unhappy with was we didn't move the ball quickly enough, perhaps because of the wet pitch."
The substitutions he made in the second half included a number of youngsters, who are expected to play on their reserve team in the Premier League this season. But despite shining in the encounter, Satiananthan said bluntly that he does not expect to field Mukhairi Ajmal, Anwar Ibrahim, Azrin Afiq and Zahril Azri Zabri on the team often.
"If you look at Azrin, you would see that he played well. But young players have consistency issues and we can't rush them. They may even be called up to the Malaysia U-19 centralised training.
"Mukhairi has had experience playing on the first team at PKNP FC, but he lacks consistency. It's difficult to rely on him in important matches. I will give him a chance, but as a backup player. But please remember that they have junior national team commitment, so I may only be able to give them playing time in five or six games," remarked the former Felda United boss.
Satiananthan meanwhile explained that experienced flanker Khyril Muhymeen and new defender Rodney Celvin missed the match as they lacked match fitness.
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