The second round of FA Cup probably received the most attention from football fans so far this year but for the wrong reasons.
While some great matches were played in the round as teams battled it out for quarter-final spots, it was the JDT-T-Team fiasco that received all the spotlight.
Played on the 1st of February, Johor Darul Ta’zim were leading visitors T-Team 2-1 at half time as they sought revenge after they were beaten by the same opponent in the Super League. Two goals from Luciano Figureoa gave the Southern Tigers the lead but Titans captain Marzuki Yusoff pulled one back through a wonderful free kick just before half time. However, things turned from exciting to chaotic as a quarrel in the tunnel during the half-time break lead for the match to be postponed until the issue has resolved.
In another game that was played on the 1st of February, Malaysia Cup holders and last year’s semi-finalists Pahang beat Lions XII at Jalan Besar Stadium to become the first Malaysian football team to beat the Singaporeans on their own turf in 19 months. Two goals in four minutes right after half time gave the Elephants a two-nil lead before an own goal by keeper Khairul Mohd Khalid gave Lions XII a glimmer of hope. But it was too little too late as Pahang made through to the quarters.
Awaiting Pahang in the next round are Premier League side PDRM, who continued their 100% start to the season with a win against PBAPP. Despite head coach Dollah Salleh still being out with health reasons, that did not stop the police grabbing a comfortable win as Chad Souza and former Sarawak striker Bobby Gonzales scored two quick goals in the second half. Dollah Salleh will meet his former employer in what could be a mouth-watering clash in the quarter-final.
Another team that recorded a win away from home is Sarawak, who beat the Red Giants Selangor 1-0 at MBPJ Stadium in an early kick-off yesterday, with the only goal coming from Zamri Morshidi in the first half. The game did not end well as Sarawak’s goal keeper, Sani Anuar was shown a red card for violent conduct.
Sarawak will travel to Felda United for the quarter-final, as Felda beat Super League side Sime Darby away from home to book their place in the next round. Zah Rahan scored in the 86th minute to give Felda the win and ensure their progress in the FA Cup.
Another team from the east coast, Terengganu, bowed out from the competition as they lost to PKNS FC 2-1 in an exciting match. PKNS, who lost to the Turtles earlier in the Super League season, took the lead through their talisman Patrick Wleh in the 37th minute but Terengganu’s Ismail Faruqi equalised right after the second half resumed. K. Primorac proved to be the hero for the home team as he scored in the 80th minute to set up PKNS for a clash with Kelantan.
In a clash between two neighbours, Kedah thrashed Perlis 4-0. Goals from Billy Mehmet, Adam Griffith, Badrol Bakhtiar and Khyril Muhymeen did the job in an impressive performance. Kedah awaits the winner between T-Team and JDT in the quarter-final.
Record-breaking wins, last-gasp winners and the mystery in the tunnel, the Malaysia FA Cup has spread its magic across the country, with great match ups still to come in the quarter-finals. It is still too early to say who will lift the trophy by the end of the competition.