BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Playing in Kota Bharu without their talismanic Brazilian striker Guilherme de Paula and head coach Fabio Maciel, who were both handed last-minute suspensions by the Malaysian FA, the Hawks conceded the first goal, scored by Nik Azli Nik Alias, as early as the tenth minute. A shocking blunder by custodian Ahmad Solehin Mamat in the 16th minute then allowed Shafiq Shaharudin to double the lead had by the Red Warriors, who fielded five players aged 21 or younger, and only one foreign player at the start.
Shafiq doubled his tally in the 69th minute, but the visitors pulled one back through veteran attacker Indra Putra Mahayuddin's 80th minute goal. Malaysia U-19 playmaker Nik Akif Syahiran Nik Mat scored Kelantan's final goal of the night in the 89th minute, before Zhafri Yahya netted the Hawks' second in injury time.
Speaking after the match, KL assistant head coach Yee Fatt Chong remarked that the defeat was down to individual mistakes.
"We gave Kelantan too much space to play, while none of our departments were playing well, leaving too much gap. And we were punished for it.
"We were careless too, when he had already been working on it (in training). The players lost their focus and kept playing the ball in our area for a long time," said Yee in an interview with the broadcaster.