PKNP 1 (4) Felda 4 (5): Fighters pull off incredible come back

Wan Zack Haikal, Felda UnitedFelda United

Felda United showed their pedigree in the Malaysia Cup quarterfinal second leg to condemn PKNP FC to a 4-1 defeat on the night but more importantly, nailing a berth in the semi-final with a 5-4 aggregate score. The remarkable come back after losing the first leg 3-1, proved that there's still a gap between teams from the two divisions.

Abu Bakar Fadzim kept faith with the players that served him well in the first leg, opting to keep Vincent Weigl on the bench and giving a chance to Irwan Syazmin on the right hand side of the attack. On the other side, B. Sathianathan started with a 4-2-3-1 formation looking to get goals with Thiago Augusto spearheading the attack.

However it didn't take long for Felda's plans to go up in smoke as PKNP struck a further blow to Super League side as early as the 8th minute of the match. South Korean Kim Hyeon-Woo picked up the ball just outside of Felda's penalty box, turns away from Shukor Adan before rifling a left footed shot beyond Farizal Harun to extend PKNP's lead to 4-1 on aggregate.

Felda had a golden chance to equalise in the 20th minute when Thiago ran straight at PKNP's defence. He stayed on his feet when he seemed to have been fouled by Syazwan Zaipol but in doing so, allowed Ritus Krjauklis to nip in to clear the ball before Thiago had a chance to take his shot.

The game opened up with two teams exchanging chances but it was the visitors who would be the one to convert their chance. Shukor ventured forward to produce a deep cross that found Wan Zack Haikal at the far post to head home the equaliser in the 35th minute. 

Just two minutes later, Sathianathan's team took a 2-1 lead as PKNP struggled to recover from the shock of conceding a goal. Ifedayo Olusegun crept in unmarked in the centre of the box and the Nigerian picked his spot to slam an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net, beating Ahmad Asyraaf for the second time in the first half.

Before the half time whistle came, the tie became all square as Felda scored for the third time in the half to level the tie at 4-4 on aggregate. WIth a minute left on the clock to half time, Wan Zack took an inswinging corner kick and directed it towards goal. It caught Asyraaf by surprise and the young keeper was unable to prevent the ball from going into his goal.

PKNP's misery would continue after the interval as Felda take the lead for the first time in the tie. Just four minutes after half time, Zah Rahan increased Felda's lead on the night when he easily converted a cut back from Thiago to give The Fighters a 4-1 lead.

The side from Ipoh, away from their usual home of Perak Stadium looked stunned with the turnaround. Asyraaf continued to be a bundle of nerves between the sticks as Felda kept up the attacking pressure.

Abu Bakar was forced to introduce attacking players for more defensive ones as they seek to score two goals that they need to make the next stage of the competition. Off came Irwan and Ahmad Azraei for Muhammad Safar and Deevan Raj respectively. The mercurial Weigl was also introduced with less than 20 minutes left of normal time. 

And it was the Dutchman who would come close for PKNP, first with a long range volley in the 78th minute, then with an effort just a minute later from a free kick that saw the ball hit the bar.

That was all that PKNP could muster and in the end, Felda's higher quality shone through and Sathianathan's team will now have a semi-final against Kedah to contest with. As for Abu Bakar Fadzim's side, it had been a tremendous run from them in the Malaysia Cup, being the best Premier League team in the competition but this was one wall too high for them to climb.