A steady pair of hands helped the Elephants gain their first appearance in Malaysia Cup final since 1997
|MAN OF THE MATCH
Sarawak (2)1-1(4) Pahang
In a match that saw Pahang simply absorbing the onslaught of Sarawak's possession in front of the vociferous away fans, the away side had their goalkeeper Khairul Khalid's steady pair of hands to thank for.
The Elephants looked second best throughout the whole match in terms of ball possession, and that opportunity was used by the homeside to press to narrow the two-goal gap.
Khairul's first significant contribution came in the 26th minute, when he had to stretch his arm to push a 20-meter Joseph Kallang Tie strike onto the woodwork. He got the lightest of touch to it as he saw the attempt very late, but the replays showed that the ball would have gone in if not for Khairul.
He however could not do anything to keep a well-timed and placed glancing header by Bobby Gobzales out five minutes later. But at that point, Pahang were still in the driving seat, and in the second half Khairul again performed admirably to help his team keep their then narrow lead.
And when the visitors themselves found a goal, against the run of play, through substitute Fauzi Roslan's first touch of the game, Khairul knew what had to be done. To further frustrate the already misfiring and desperate Sarawak forwards, he then took his time with the goal kicks, and slowed down the game. The game finished 4-2 on aggregate to Pahang, and they are now in the Malaysia Cup final for the first time since 1997.
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