A perfectly executed header by the substitute inspired the hosts to a pivotal 2-1 victory over a jaded Red Warriors side
The game started on a bright note with both sides pushing on the offence, as Kelantan looked incredibly lively early on in the game.
Spraying passes all around the pitch, they were the first side to register an attack as Francis Forkey Doe's shot was blocked away by Utah Iskandar.
Moments later, Perak conceded a free-kick at the edge of the box. Badhri Razi stepped up, but his audacious attempt was tipped away to safety by Razi Effendi. On the ninth minute, Mohamed Shawky tried his luck with a shot from just outside the box but yet again, Razi was equal to it.
At this point, Perak were beginning to get into the game as they started keeping hold of possession. It ultimately paid dividends on 12 minutes as Ahmad Sukri found the back of the net from close range to strike first blood for the home side.
Perak visibly picked their momentum up from that point, pushing forward relentlessly. But at the same time, Forkey Doe struggled to get into the match as he was being blocked out by Kafando.
As the half-time whistle approached, Perak could have doubled their lead. A speedy run from Ridzuan Azly down the left flank saw him beat two defenders before he pulled the ball back for Eliel Guardiano, whose shot just missed the target by inches.
After the break, the Seladang came out firing on all cylinders. A terrific diagonal pass from Nasir Basharuddin played Ridzuan Azly through, but Khairul Fahmi was quick to leave his line and clear it away. Minutes later, Azmeer found space on the left flank but his attempted cross was smacked away by Obinna Nwaneri.
But Kelantan finally restored parity in the 55th minute courtesy of a fantastic finish from Shawky. The goal lifted their spirits up as they began playing with much more confidence on the ball.
And they came incredibly close to taking the lead as a pacy breakaway from Wan Zaharulnizam led to him laying off a decent pass over to Shakir Ali. However, the ex-Kedah forward misplaced his attempted pass to Fakri.
Abu Bakar Fadzim then decided to ring the changes by introducing Khairul Asyraf in place of Zelimir Terkes and it did change the tempo for Perak. All of a sudden, they had extra pace upfront and it eventually did the trick for them. A counter attack from Ridzuan earned a corner, and Khairul headed home from the delivery to restore Perak's lead.
Steve Darby also decided to go for the kill by replacing Forkey Doe with Mohammed Ghaddar on the 82nd minute. But Perak kept their defence tight and withstood a flurry of late attacks from the Red Warriors to clinch a morale-boosting win at home,