Kedah 0-0 Kelantan: Red Warriors one point away from qualification
Hosts Kedah were left to rue a number of missed chances as they could only draw 0-0 with Kelantan, who now just need a draw in their final group game to go through
By Prem Kumar
Kelantan kept their treble dreams alive as they edged closer to the next round of the Malaysia Cup after holding a determined Kedah side to a goalless draw at the Darul Aman Stadium.
The ‘Hijau Kuning’ outfit could have taken all three points had they converted at least one of the three clear-cut chances created.
However, the visitors were the first to test the goalkeeper through Indra Putra Mahayuddin, whose volley went straight into rookie Mohd Muhaimin’s arms in the 4th minute.
Six minutes later, Kedah’s Khyril Muhymeen missed a golden chance to put the home side ahead when he slipped and fell at a crucial moment after Sabre Abu’s cross left him with the goal at his mercy.
Half an hour into the game, Kedah were forced to make a change after Fiqkry Mat Isa got injured and coach Mario Tot sent 19-year-old Syamim Alif on as his replacement.
In the 39th minute Kedah almost took the lead through a looping Baddrol Bakhtiar free-kick but the ball bounced off the post into play before Kelantan’s Nigerian import, Obinna Nwaneri, reacted the fastest to hack the ball clear.
Second half resumed with The Canaries taking control of the midfield with some nice inter-passing led by Amar Rohidan, who looked bright and fit throughout the match after an injury-plagued season.
Kedah then wasted another chance when Vedran Gerc could not direct his shot into goal following a Fazliata Taib through ball that left him with only Kelantan’s national goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat to beat. Tot immediately substituted Gerc after this miss.
As the match entered the last 10 minutes, Kedah piled the pressure onto the east coast side but the Malaysian Super League (MSL) champions held firm to take a precious point back to Kota Bharu.
Home coach Tot conceded after the match that his team’s campaign was over although mathematically they retain the slimmest of chances of making it past the group.
“We played very well today and we deserved to win. That’s life but I’m satisfied with my team today.
“Theoretical chances exist but we have to be honest, I think we’re finished in this competition.”
Kelantan only need a point now from their last group fixture against Terengganu at home to confirm their participation in the quarter-finals.
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