Ryan Griffiths inspired The Crocs to a narrow 2-1 win over high-flying Terengganu at the Sultan Nasiruddin Shah Stadium earlier today
BY KEESHAANAN SUNDARESAN Follow on Twitter
Sarawak pulled off a massive upset in the Malaysian East Coast earlier today as they battled through a 2-1 victory against Terengganu FA. Ryan Griffiths was the man of the night as he fired the winner to claim revenge for their loss in Kuching last week.
In fact, the Crocs were impressive from the offset, finding the back of the net after just two minutes into the game. Chanturu, who has looked nothing short of impressive for the Crocs this year, netted his fourh goal of the season with a composed finish, after being played through brilliantly by Ryan Griffiths.
The goal definitely silenced the crowd for a bit, but it didn't take them long to regroup and cheer their team on again. And the home side definitely did respond as well. On the 10th minute, Ashaari Shamsuddin found Zairo with a low ball, but the latter's attempt, though powerful, went wide off target.
Just three minutes later, Ashaari decided to try his luck from distance, but it ended up being an attempt that would have made Johnny Wilkinson proud. Tough luck, but that not deter Terengganu in any way as they kept pushing.
But having said that, proper credit must be given towards Robert Alberts tactics, that was extremely effective in keeping Terengganu's Dabo at bay. And they were also dangerous on the break, which was illustrated clearly on the 25th minute. S. Chanturu found space on the left, being trying to find an unmarked Griffiths inside the box. The Australian was diligent enough to connect with it, but the header was saved by Sharbinee.
Just when you thought that Sarawak may just head into the break with a slender lead, Terengganu sent their fans into rapture by restoring parity on the 36th mark. Zairo's corner kick caused havoc inside the Sarawak's penalty box, and Junior Eldstal gifted the equalizer by unfortunately pushing the ball into his own net.
Things did get much more interesting after the break. Ashri Chuchu was brought on for Rashid Aya as Robert Alberts decided to go gung ho. On the 47th minute mark, Griffiths drilled in a long range effort, but it was effectively tipped away by Sharbinee.
10 minutes later, Sarawak's defence was caught napping as Dabo found space to unleash a rather speculative shot, though Fazley was perfectly positioned to save that one. The home side started spraying passes confidently, sensing that they are well capable of finding the winner.
At the same time, Sarawak themselves were extremely cautious, especially after conceding the equalizer. Shahrol Saperi wasted a good chance on the 70th minute mark, but just four minutes later, the crowd was silenced for the second time in the match.
Ashri Chuchu, who made an immense difference since coming on, floated in a delicious cross from the flanks, and Ryan Griffiths showed incredible predatory instincts to fire it home and put Sarawak ahead in the game.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, Terengganu decided to go for the kill by introducing Mamadou Barry. Kudos for showing effort though, as they kept pushing hard. But Sarawak were pretty happy to sit deep and protect their slender lead. For Robert Alberts, 3 points here was going to be pivotal.
And so when the final whistle was blown, the atmosphere wasn't as electric as it was prior to the game. Sarawak claimed a valuable win and Terengganu's momentum suffered a set-back.