BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Although Terengganu FC in Group A of the Malaysia Cup had already secured qualification to the quarter-finals, they could not finish the group stage on a high note, after losing 3-2 to Kuala Lumpur (KL) at home in their final group match on Saturday.
The visitors, who were already unable to secure qualification, needed only four minutes to open the scoring through talismanic striker Guilherme de Paula's goal. Do Dong-Hyun equalised for the hosts in the 34th minute, but it would not last long. Fazirhikwan Rani was shown his second yellow card for a foul just outside of the Turtles' penalty box, and the resulting free kick was put away by Paulo Josue in the 37th minute. It took Terengganu until the 65th minute to find the equaliser again, this time through Shahrul Aizad Zukufli's goal, but de Paula smashed in the winner and his second goal of the night three minutes from time.
Terengganu vs KL match highlights
Thankfully for them, Perak who were also pushing for the top spot in the group lost 2-1 to Felcra FC in the other group match of night, and the Turtles took the top spot by virtue of goal difference.
Speaking to the match broadcaster after the match, Terengganu head coach Irfan Bakti Abu Salim conceded that several factors affected his charges' performance in the match.
"Admittedly, things became more difficult for us after we went down to ten men with 55 minutes still remaining on the clock.
"And my players were a little distracted by the goings on in the other group match (Felcra-Perak). I asked them at halftime; 'Can you win the game? Or produce at least a draw?' They came out attacking and pressuring the opponents, but lost their focus and conceded the winning goal in the last minutes of the game.
"Our defending against set-pieces was weak because except for Igor (Zonjic), our defenders just don't have the physique," revealed Irfan to match commentator and former Malaysia international Ahmad Shahrul Azhar Sofian.
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