Kelantan 1-1 Kedah: Vedran Gerc scores again as Kedah hold Kelantan for a draw in Kota Bharu
Canaries hold Malaysian Super League champions in the first leg of the Malaysian FA Cup semi-final to boost chances of progress
By Muhammad Izzat Akmal Ismail
Host Kelantan failed to make their home advantage count as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Kedah in the Sultan Mohammad IV stadium.
National striker Norsyahrul Idlan Talaha put Kelantan ahead only for Kedah to draw level ten minutes later through Vedran Gerc who scored a classy equaliser.
Bojan Hodak fielded his best eleven with Norsyahrul and Mohammad Ghaddar in the starting lineup and the duo both partnered well to hassle Kedah’s defense.
Kedah, however, were very hard to break down as they absorbed the Red Warrior's early attacks. Kelantan’s first attempt came in the form of a weak shot from Shakir Shaari which was easily saved by Canaries goalkeeper, Helmi Eliza Elias.
Kelantan almost opened the scoring in the tenth minute when S. Chanturu’s goalbound effort came off a Kedah defender. Another weak shot from him was saved by Kedah’s goalkeeper Helmi Eliza.
The visitors also found goalscoring chances hard to come by as Khyril Muhymeen and Badrol Bakhtiar came closest to breaking the deadlock.
Kelantan opened the scoring after Mohammad Ghaddar received Badhri Radzi’s pass to set up Norsyahrul who slotted past Helmi Eliza.
Three minutes after the goal, Kedah defense once again failed to handle Norsyahrul as the striker beat a defender and managed to muster a decent shot. However, Helmi Eliza Elias brilliantly reacted to deny him.
Wan Jamak Wan Hassan made an early substitution on 24 minutes, introducing Wan Mohd Aysraf Wan Ali to aid the Kedah strikers.
It was an inspirational tactical change as Kedah increased pressure on Kelantan defenders and scored the equaliser just ten minutes later.
Canaries new Croatian striker Vedran Gerc made an impressive solo run to beat three Kelantan defenders before smashing home.
Mohd Ghaddar had a great opportunity to put Kelantan back in front but his shot was turned away for a corner. As the half-time whistle blew, both teams failed to break the deadlock.
The match turned into a heated affair in the 72nd minute when the referee issued a red card each to Wan Mohd Sukri and Mohd Daudsu Jamaluddin.
Both teams then struggled to score with 10-men and the match ended 1-1. Kedah will however have a priceless away goal advantage come the second leg in Alor Setar.
Kelantan on the other hand, will surely have to handle the Canaries wisely in the return leg come on May 1.
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