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September 28, 2013 8:45 PM SGT
Stadium Majlis Perbandaran Selayang — Selayang
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Sime Darby FC 0-0 Sarawak: Uphill battle awaits Planters after goalless draw

Cautious approach by both teams ensured a goalless finish to the first leg of the quarterfinal tie between Sime Darby and Sarawak

By Zulhilmi Zainal

Sarawak FA
FoxSports Asia
The 2013 Malaysia Cup quarterfinal action in Selayang saw Premier League runners-up Sime Darby FC draw 0-0 with champions Sarawak.

The home side started with Karlo Primorac as the sole target man upfront, opting to dominate the middle of the pitch by fielding five midfielders instead.

The visitors meanwhile stuck with the tried and tested, playing Bobby Gonzales and Muamer Salibasic upfront, with Guy Bwele, Joseph Kalang Tie and Junior Eldstal in midfield.

The 6,000-strong attendance was among the highest for Sime Darby this season, but unfortunately for the Planters, most of the fans in attendance were wearing the red and black of Sarawak.

The superior away fan support made themselves heard from the very beginning, jeering the home side everytime they were in possession of the ball.

They had extra reason to provoke Sime Darby in the fifth minute, when an on-the-ball tussle between Kalang Tie and Sime Darby defender Firdaus Faudzi almost turned into an off-the-ball scuffle between the two. The result, Firdaus received an early booking for his remonstration.

The first 20 minutes or so took place with Sarawak dominating possession, chipping away at Sime Darby's defence.

In the 24th minute an onrushing Salibasic seemed to have been tripped by Sime Darby goalkeeper Redzuan Harun in the penalty box, but the referee was having none of it, and no penalty kick was given.

Seven minutes later, Eldstal ran down the right wing before sending in a swerving cross towards the edge of the penalty box, but Salibasic's subsequent snapshot rose over the bar.

A moment later it was finally the home side's turn for an attempt through a Fazrul Hazli one-two pass with Asrol Ibrahim in front of goal, but he was a fraction too late with the follow up, and the ball was smothered by Bujang Senang goalkeeper Sani Anuar Kamsani.

Four minutes from half time, Fadzli Saari did well and was aware of the ball's position following a weak clearance by a Sarawak defender, and audaciously attempted a bicycle kick from the edge of the box. The attempt almost caught the slightly off-position Sani by surprise, but he did well to recover just in time to tip the ball over the bar just it was looking to drop in under the bar.

The tense first half finished scoreless.

Sime Darby came back onto the pitch raring for the second half, and they went on the attack.

Five minutes after play resumed, Primorac attempted another low drive that went straight into the arms of Sani.

As fatigue set in among both sets of players, mistakes started popping up, and both teams resorted to fouling one another, resulting in a number of bookings made by the referee.

In the 86th minute, Fahrul Razi almost nicked a goal for the Planters when he attempted a lob from outside the box towards the top left corner of the Sarawak goal, but his effort struck the crossbar instead to the relief of Sani.

With the goalless draw, a tough task awaits Sime Darby in the second leg when they play Sarawak in Kuching next week.

Follow Zulhilmi Zainal on 

First leg
Times In SGT
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Matías Conti Matías Conti
7 1
Marlon Alex James Marlon Alex James
5 0
Badhri Radzi Badhri Radzi
4 0
Alen Guć Alen Guć
3 1
Nor Farhan Muhammad Nor Farhan Muhammad
3 0