Goals from Karlovic and Ismail Faruqi was more than enough for Terengganu to clinch a pivotal 2-0 victory over East Coast rivals Pahang.Terengganu started the game positively from the offset, pushing hard on the offensive. The absence of Mamadou Barry raised several eyebrows, but Ashaari and Marcio looked dangerous from the beginning, with the exciting link-up.
They created a chance on the sixth minute but the final product was to no avail. Suren then sprinted down the flank before crossing into the box, but Fauzi Roslan's header went wide off the post. But just as Pahang were beginning to settle into the game, Terengganu striked first blood. Mario Karlovic found the back of the net with a delightful free kick attempt, sending the Turtles' fans into raptures.
Pahang were left shocked by the goal and from that moment, they struggled to assert themselves into the game. The midfield combo of Hafiz Kamal and Azidan, which has looked so potent this season, failed to create much chances for Pahang and Conti was also unusually quiet in this game.
Having said that, Pahang did try to breakaway by using their wingers as usual, but Terengganu's defensive set-up was being executed to perfection. Vincent Bikana in particular was rock solid for the Turtles, as he relentlessly protected the Terengganu goal.
Ashaari even had one attempt on target just before half time but Azhan parried it away to safety, to keep the score at 1-0 as both sides went in for their breaks.
When the second half kicked off, Terengganu basically picked up where they left off in the first by defending resolutely and trying to surprise Pahang on the counter attack.
Though Ron Smith took Zesh Rehman off for Dickson Nwakaeme, Terengganu registered the first attempt of the second half via Marcio, though his attempt on the 54th minute was tipped away by Azhan. The Turtles kept pushing hard and they almost doubled their lead on the 60th minute, if not for Shahrizan's last ditch clearance, which saved Pahang.
But three minutes later, Terengganu did finally double their lead. Norfarhan did incredibly well down the flanks before teeing up Ismail Faruqi, and the skipper made no mistakes by firing home. That essentially left Pahang with a mountain to climb.
But Terengganu never allowed them space to hike the mountain. All they did was keep it tight at the back and creatively threaten through Farhan and Ashaari. The duo almost combined to produce a third goal, but the final product was not stellar to say the least.
Zairo was brought on for Ismail on the 80th minute mark and he immediately made an impact by firing a speculative attempt straight at goal, but Azhan was there to save it. Bikana had two late chances as well, but Pahang held on tight to only suffer a 2-0 defeat. Terengganu performance was absolutely scintillating and they were certainly deserving of their win.
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