SEREMBAN: Kelantan dazzled in front of their passionate home fans to score a 2-0 victory over Perlis in a Malaysia Cup semi-final first-leg match at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru last night.
A real blast: Kelantan’s Indra Putra Mahayuddin scores from the penalty spot against Perlis in Kota Baru.
The atmosphere at the stadium in Kota Baru was electrifying with some 25,000 fans lending full support to the Red Warriors. Tickets were snapped up barely two hours after the booths were opened in the morning.
A penalty conversion by Indra Putra Mahayuddin in the 21st minute and a late goal by Rizal Fahmi in the 90th minute put the Red Warriors in the driver’s seat to reach the final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Nov 7.
Negri Sembilan also stayed on course to qualify for the final after picking up a narrow 1-0 win over Terengganu at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi.
Indra scored his 10th goal for Kelantan in the competition from the spot kick after he was brought down by Perlis defender Fauzi Nan inside the box. And Rizal brought more joy to the Kelantan fans as their team will have a two-goal cushion for the second-leg match at the Stadium Utama in Kangar on Saturday.
Kelantan are seeking their first major silverware in senior-level Malaysian football since 1921. Kelan-tan last qualified for the final in 1970 and they were beaten 0-2 by Perak.
Negri have to thank Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak for getting the solitary goal against Terengganu in the 51st minute.
The Deer, playing in front of 20,000 home fans, had the first shot at goal but Mohd Alif Shamsuddin’s grounder from inside the box hit the post in the ninth minute. It was a golden opportunity for the home team after Shahurain Abu Samah had broken loose on the flank before making the cross for Mohd Alif.
Barging through: Negri Sembilan’s Shurain Abu Sabah (centre) tries to get past two Terengganu players during their Malaysia Cup match in Paroi last night.Terengganu adopted a defensive approach and their backline, led by skipper Marzuki Yusof, performed well to contain Negri forwards Mohd Zaquan Adha Abdul Razak and Hairuddin Omar.
The Turtles were dangerous on the counter-attack with their speed merchants, Mohd Ashaari Shamsuddin and Abdul Manaf Mamat.
After a frustrating first half, Negri came alive and forced two corners. Their persistence paid off when Zafuan scored off a corner kick taken by S. Kunalan. And it turned out to be the advantage that Negri will have going into the return match at the Sultan Ismail Stadium in Kuala Terengganu on Saturday.
Terengganu were down to 10-man after Hariri Mohd Safie was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 85th minute.