Hafizul penalty heroics wins Perak the Malaysia Cup

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The Perak keeper saved two spot kicks in the shoot-out to complete Perak's magnificent comeback against Terengganu in the final.

It was a similar scenario to the first final between the two teams played 20 years ago as Perak emerged as champions of this year's Malaysia Cup after ousting Terengganu FC on penalties. The match was tied 3-3 after extra time but Hafizul Hakim became the toast of his team as he saved two spot kicks.

Wander Luiz converted the first spot kick but Igor Zonjic saw his shot palmed away by Hafizul. Amirul Azhan was next to step up for Perak and he sent Suffian Rahman the wrong way for Perak before Hafizul again came out tops to stop Thierry Chanta Bin's spot kick for Perak to lead 0-2.

Shahrul Saad then made it 0-3 to Perak but Nasrullah Haniff ensured that there would be a fourth taker in the shoot-out. A confident Leandro dos Santo step up to score Perak's fourth in the shoot-out and ensured victory for his team with a 1-4 outcome.

Terengganu got off to a great start as they punished Perak's indecisiveness in defence as early as the first minute. Idris Ahmad's back pass to Hafizul Hakim was short and Tchetche Kipre sneaked in to push the ball into an empty goal for the opening goal of the match.

Inspired by the goal, Terengganu grew in confidence and dominated a shell-shocked Perak side. Hafizul had to be on his toes to deny Kipre in the 17th minute and then did well to block Malik Ariff just two minutes.

In the 31st minute, Perak thought they have found the equaliser when Leandro dos Santos nodded in from close range but despite the wild celebrations in the stands, referee Suresh Jayaraman whistled for a foul on Terengganu's keeper Suffian Rahman.

Hafizul continued to produce the heroics as he denied J. Parthiban from point blank with a superb reflex save but he would became the ire of Perak fans in the 42nd minute after he rushed out of his goal but failed to connect with the ball, which allowed Kipre the chance to grab his second goal on the night for Terengganu to lead 2-0 at half time.

Durakovic took off an injured Nor Hakim Hassan at the start of the second half with Kenny Pallraj entering the fray and Perak reaped the rewards within a minute of the restart. Brendan Gan was allowed to skip his way past a few players before laying the ball off for Firdaus Saiyadi to perfectly place the ball beyond Suffian to pull a goal back for Perak.

With the match having swung in favour of Perak for the first time in the match, they had their momentum cut almost immediately when they find themselves with a man less after 57 minutes played. An altercation in the corner of the pitch between Igor Zonjic and Firdaus somehow saw referee Suresh Jayaraman flashing a second yellow card to Gilmar Filho and subsequently a red card.

But Jayaraman equalled the numbers on the pitch in the 65th minute when Terengganu's Lee Tuck was also shown a second yellow card and he joined Gilmar off the pitch for an early shower.

Perak almost found their second equaliser in the game in the 68th minute but were forced watch agonisingly as Shahrul Saad's header crashed against the crossbar and bounced back into the field of play.

The Bos Gaurus were forced to wait until the second minute of added time before finding the goal that sent the match into extra time. The ball broke loose inside Terengganu's penalty box and Brendan Gan was on hand to drive the ball pass a hapless Suffian to make it 2-2.

It only took Terengganu five minutes into extra time to find themselves in the lead once again as the imperious Faiz produced an outstanding curling shot from the edge of the box that sailed into Hafizul's top right hand corner for Terengganu to lead 3-2.

Just like in normal time, Perak made their fans sweat as they only managed to find the third goal of the match in added time of the extra time when Zonjic inexplicably put the ball past his own keeper to send the match into penalty shootout.

 

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