Marlon James may have put two goals past Khairul Fahmi but the Kelantan keeper had the last laugh as his superb saves kept Kelantan on track to defend their trophy.
|MAN OF THE MATCH
Kelantan (4)2-2(3) ATM
In the second leg of the 2013 Malaysia Cup semifinal action at the Sultan Mohammad IV Stadium yesterday, there were a few standout performers. Marlon Alex James finally found his scoring boots in this round of the competition, Fakri Saarani came on to inspire his team with a moment of brilliance and Badhri Radzi couldn’t have struck a sweeter shot than the one that nestled in the top corner in the 83rdminute.
However, if one were to look at the match and seek the pivotal moments that saw Kelantan go through the final and ATM eliminated, one man stood out. Kelantan’s goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi emerged as the hero for the home side as he stood between ATM and a place in the final of Malaysia’s premier cup competition.
The first pivotal save was when he denied the Argentine, Bruno Martelotto. A mad scramble inside of Kelantan’s penalty box, saw the ball falling kindly to Martelotto. At this point, Khairul was part of the scramble and was out of position. ATM’s playmaker had the presence of mind to steady himself to drag the ball away from the scramble, before looking for his spot in the net. Miraculously, Khairul showed his quick feet to get back into position to block that shot. This was to deny ATM from taking a 3-0 lead.
Yet, that wasn’t the most impressive save that Khairul made. He managed to outdo his first effort in injury time of the match. Had that gone in, ATM would have gone through on to the final and Kelantan would have little time to find another goal. Good one-touch passing from the away side, saw Shukor Adan advancing from defence and was now through on goal. Facing up against Khairul in a one-on-one situation. Shukor’s shot was heading towards the top corner, but out came Khairul fully stretched and got his fingertips on the ball to push it out.
Khairul has received a lot of flak recently for his performance in both the Kelantan and Malaysian jersey. One match doesn’t change the narrative but the former undisputed national no. 1 keeper produced an outstanding performance to drag his team into the final.