Terengganu fired four goals to complete an emphatic victory over Pahang add more twist and drama into the Super League table
BY KEESHAANAN SUNDARESAN Follow on Twitter
This was particularly billed as a close affair prior to the game, and it pretty much started that way as well. Both sides probed each other; albeit with caution. With Manaf Mamat, Ashaari and Estupinan upfront, Terengganu were certainly in this to win.
And they did push hard on the offense. The combination between all three men did seem dangerous from the offset, but the Pahang defence maintain their solidity at the back. Having said that, Terengganu broke the deadlock on the 17th minute mark through Javier Estupinan.The Tok Gajahs did not give up though. Azamuddin Akil carved out a couple of key chances, but the resolute Vincent Bikana was rock solid at the heart of their defence. On the other side, Ashaari Shamsuddin continously troubled the Pahang defence with his movement.
Manaf Mamat had a shot that was blocked by the Pahang defence on the 30th minute mark, before Fauzi Roslan threatened with a speculative attempt on the opposite end. However, the Turtles' goalie was quick to parry it away to safety.
Gopinathan was another threat on the flanks and he made an excellent run across the byline before floating a cross into the box. However, Fauzi Roslan failed to make connection with the delivery, and it was cleared away effectively by Bikana.
Just when you thought that Pahang were preparing to go into half time with a one-goal deficit, Terengganu striked their second goal on the 45th minute mark, through a predatory finish from Manaf Mamat. Zainal Abidin's half time pep talk was immediately changed at that very moment.
And the Elephants did come back firing on all cylinders after the break. There was much needed urgency in their attack, as they began to dominate the tempo to a certain extent. Azamuddin Akil and Gopinathan worked their socks off to provide ammunition via the wings, but Bikana was extremely solid at the heart of Terengganu's defence.
But Zainal's troops ultimately did reduce the deficity on the 64th minute mark, as Damion Stewart found the back of the net and inspired hopes of an unprecendented comeback.
Having said that, the Turtles weren't ready to give up in any way. Ashaari continued torturing the Pahang defenders with his perfectly timed runs, as they got closer towards another goal.
And Pahang did not do themselves any favour as skipper Razman Roslan got sent off on the 74th minute mark for collecting a second yellow card. That gave Terengganu the incentive to push harder.
But as we edged closer towards the final whistle, it seemed that Terengganu were going to head home with a mere 2-1 victory. Having said that, the match exploded in injury time as Zairo Anuar tripled their lead on the 91st lead. If that was not enough, Ashaari capped off a superb performance by scoring their 4th goal on the 92 minute mark.
Ultimately, the Turtles went home with a pivotal victory but most importantly valuable three points as well. As for Pahang, this ended up being a home game to forget.