Felda United 1-2 Kelantan: Red Warriors draw first blood
Three goals in the second half give the advantage towards the visiting Kelantan, but the tie is still finely poised
By Muhammad Izzat Akmal Ismail
The usually quiet venue of the Hang Jebat Stadium was filled with vociferous support from both Felda United and Kelantan fans for this Malaysia Cup Quarter Final first leg. The home team, going into this match with high morale, were looking to demolish Kelantan’s hopes of winning the treble this season.
Felda United striker, Faderin Kadir, was the first player to try his luck at goal as he fired in two shots early on, however both efforts were way off target and did not trouble the Kelantan goal.
Kelantan’s Afiq Azmi had a chance to open the scores but his acrobatic shot went straight at the goalkeeper. Just a minute later a defensive error by Felda United was almost punished by Norshahrul, but his shot went just over the bar.
On 27 minutes, Sivakumar almost put the home side up front with a well placed effort, however he was denied by the crossbar. Felda were causing the Red Warriors several problems defensively through their quick counter attacking style, S. Subramaniam had to be at his best to stop the home team from taking the lead.
As the first half drew to a close both teams looked to go into half-time level. In the closing stages of the half Felda dominated the midfield whilst Kelantan seemed to be playing in a much more defensive manner, employing unusual tactics from their boss, Bojan Hodak.
Kelantan started the second half by introducing Mohd Ghaddar to replace Afiq Azmi to give them a greater threat in the final third. The move seemed to pay dividends early on as Felda found themselves on the back-foot thanks to Kelantan’s attacks.
Kelantan’s midfield linked well to present Indra with a chance on 51st minutes, but his shot was safely handed by Felda United goalkeeper, M. Hamsani Ahmad. Realising that his team were lacking in the final third, E.Elavarasan brought in former national player Mohd Fakhri Sarani to replace Yong Kuan Yong.
The Red Warriors finally broke the deadlock in the 57th minute following a spell of pressure when Nurul Azwan Roya took his chance well after there was chaos in Felda penalty box created by Norshahrul and Ghaddar. Ghaddar’s shot was fumbled by Felda goalkeeper Ahmad presenting Roya with his opportunity.
Kelantan had an opportunity to increase their lead following great footwork by Ghaddar, the chance fell to Indra however his effort was well blocked by Viator.
Felda United were almost level but for a brilliant save by Khairul Fahmi Che Mat which kept the score at 1-0. A quick counter attack was triggered by Fakhri Sarani, giving Mohd Azrul Ahmad the opportunity to shoot to the left corner of the goal, but Khairul Fahmi somehow got his fingertips on the ball to keep it out.
In the 75th minute, Indraputra Mahyuddin doubled Kelantan’s lead and sealed the victory following a mistake by Felda goalkeeper Ahmad, leaving him with a simple opportunity. However the two goal cushion was to be short lived as in the 80th minute, former Kelantan player, Khairan Izwan Razali, narrowed the gap as he headed the ball home following a great cross by Mohd Raimi.
The home team pushed hard for the equalizer and they almost had it in the 90th minute as Faderin Kadir sent in a dangerous low cross, however it was safely gathered by Khairul Fahmi. Soon after the final whistle was blown with Kelantan triumphing in a close match 2-1, making them heavy favourites for the second leg.
|Sign up with Ladbrokes for a free bet up to $100|