Johor overcame a listless Kedah side, who never looked likely to overcome a 1-3 first-leg deficit, to reach the FA Cup Semi-Finals
BY MARK DAWSON
The first chance for the visitors came after 11 minutes and unsurprisingly it fell to Argentine Luciano Figueroa. He latched onto the ball following neat build up play by Norshahrul and Amri Yahyah, but failed to make full contact with his shot and it trickled through to Saiful Amar Sudar in the Kedah goal.
A minute after this we almost witnessed one of the greatest goals to have ever been seen in Malaysian football. Yahyah drilled his corner to the edge of area where Mahali Jasuli was waiting. The full-back unleashed a thunderous first time volley, catching the ball sweetly, but it went narrowly wide much to the chagrin of Mahali. Following this Kedah replied with two efforts from distance from Syazwan Tajuddin, but the first was always heading wide while the second failed to seriously trouble Izham Tarmizi.
With Kedah two goals down from the first leg they needed to start to create some clear opportunities, but it was Johor who had another good opportunity to score, again through a set piece. This time it was Figueroa who tried his luck from 25 yards, lifting the ball up and over the wall, but Saiful was in place to palm the ball over the crossbar.
Ten minutes before the break Mahali made another one of his trademark overlapping runs, linking up well with Norshahrul who released him inside the Kedah area. Just as it seemed that the Malaysian international would square the ball across goal for teammate Figueroa to convert, he selfishly tried to shoot from an impossible angle causing the ball to sail behind.
With Kedah unable to create any clear chances in the first period it was no surprise that their players got more frustrated as the half wore on, with Rizal Ghazali and Adam Griffiths going into the referees notebook for poor challenges.
In the early stages of the second half it was again the Southern Tigers dominating proceedings with Norshahrul and Hariss Harun both enjoying opportunities, while Kedah replied with a half chance following a Jose Gomez header on the hour.
Any chance that Kedah had of getting back into the tie was extinguished on 62 minutes following a dreadful error by Khairul Helmi Johari. It looked to be a routine clearance for the defender from a long Johor ball forward, but he swung and missed at the ball to present it to Norshahrul who rounded the keeper with ease and passed into the empty net.
While Kedah kept plugging away, and had yet another shot from distance from Syazwan Zainon on 79 minutes, the game itself was soon over five minutes later as Johor added to their lead and made the aggregate shoreline 1-5. The goal came after Amirulhadi Zainal released Amri down the right hand side, and he unselfishly cut the ball back to the byline where Safee Sali was waiting to easily finish into the roof of the net.
It was a disappointing evening for the home side who crash out of the cup, and never at any point looked like turning the tie around. Johor go on and advance to their second consecutive Malaysia FA Cup Semi final.