BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
University side UKM FC and Sime Darby have secured promotion to the 2018 Premier League, following their FAM Cup semi-final wins on Sunday. Coincidentally, both ties ended in 1-0 scorelines on aggregate.
At the UKM Mini Stadium, Bangi, Sulaiman Husin's charges are set to become the second university side to enter the M-League, after they defeated Shahzan Muda 1-0 in their second leg semi-final match. UKM endured a jittery start to the match to retain the stalemate at the end of regulation time.
With 10 minutes remaining in the extra-time, things looked bleak for the hosts when one of their players had to receive treatment off the pitch, while they had used up all three of their substitutions. But while the physio was frantically patching up the injured man, forward Faidzol Fazreen Shamsudin made sure Shahzan Muda did not get to take advantage of their extra man, scoring following a corner kick.
With seconds remaining, the visitors had two brilliant chances from outside the box. But the first was kept out by UKM goalkeeper Khairi Hassan, and the second hit the crossbar.
UKM players and fans celebrate their win
The other semi-final tie too ended a 1-0 affair, when Sime Darby beat Felcra FC at the Petaling Jaya City Council Stadium. After the first leg had ended goalless, the second leg only produced one goal, scored by Zul Fahmi Awang in the 40th minute. The win has ensured a swift return to the M-League for the Giant Killers, who at the conclusion of the 2016 season were relegated from the Premier League to the FAM Cup.
With their places in the second tier now secure, the two sides will now face off in the two-legged FAM Cup final to decide the champions. The first leg will be hosted by UKM on October 15, with Sime Darby hosting the return fixture on October 22. The kick-off times and venues have not been announced.