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Kelantan 4-1 Terengganu: Red Warriors ran riot in the final ten minutes o

SHB Da Nang vs Kelantan - Kelantan Team Shot
Mohd Zuki (KAFA)

The Turtles fell to a dogged Kelantan side in Kota Bharu, despite taking an early lead and solid goalkeeping by Shamirza Yusoff

The first leg of one of the two semi-final fixtures of the 2013 FA Cup took place between East Coast rivals Kelantan and Terengganu in Kota Bharu earlier. The Red Warriors started with Fakri Sarani, Norfarhan and Indra Putra in front while Dickson Nwakaeme was benched, whereas Terengganu fielded their usual suspects; Manaf Mamat, Ashaari Shamsuddin and Ismail Faruqi in front at the start of the match.

Terengganu proved that they had come to Kota Bharu to win by opening accounts as early as the second minute of the match. A blazing shot that was unleashed by Ismail Faruqi could not be handled properly by Khairul Fahmi, which hit the bar. The ball fell into the path of Ashaari Samsudin who was the first to arrive near the rebound. He then smartly nodded the ball over Fahmi, who to his credit was already back in position by then, and into the far corner of the Kelantan goalmouth to give the Turtles a very early lead. The home side had no other options but to attack then.

But unfortunately for the visitors, Ismail had to be taken off just five minutes later. A strong barge on Ismail by Nwakaeme caused him to land awkwardly on the dry pitch. He was then brought off for Fakrulrazi Musa.

His substitution changed the pace of his team, as their aggressive play was stymied by his abrupt departure. Fakrulrazi even looked nervous after coming on, getting himself a booking just five minutes after being brought in.

Kelantan used the chance to begin chipping away at Terengganu's possession and had an opportunity to equalise in the 18th minute through an Indra low-drive that fortunately for Terengganu, went just wide.

A series of Kelantan attacks took place in the next five minutes, which were confidently contained and absorbed by the Terengganu defence and their keeper Shamirza Yusoff each time.

A poor back pass by Terengganu defender Hasmizan Kamaruddin at the half-hour mark was intercepted well by Fakri who then dribbled the ball away from the on-rushing Shamirza before releasing a low cross. But none of his teammates were there to connect with it, and the Red Warriors continued to trail behind their rivals.

But that did not mean that the Turtles were content to sit behind and play defensively. By then they had already altered their play to utilise counter-attacks, and just before the halftime whistle was blown they almost doubled their lead. A pass found Ashaari in the Kelantan penalty box, and he did well to evade the on-rushing Fahmi. However, his attempt was unaccurate.

When the second half began, Kelantan took off Fakri for Dickson. However, it was Terengganu who had the first good chance in the second half, again through Ashaari who evaded the offside trap set by the Kelantan defence, who were caught very high up the pitch. However, his first touch was poor and the ball was cleared by Fahmi.

At the hour mark, Ashaari again eluded the defence to charge down his teammate's through pass. But again, Fahmi was there to avoid Kelantan from going two-goal down.

Minutes later, Kelantan captain Badhri Radzi almost equalised for his side from a freekick taken at the edge of the Terengganu penalty box. Although his shot had the right height, it went just a little wide off the mark, although Shamirza had already gone the other way.

Twenty minutes from time, Badhri again missed a sitter after receiving a pass in the Terengganu box. He received the ball in awkward position, and his subsequent tap-in ended on the wrong side of the post instead.

However when the match was starting to look like it was not going Kelantan's way, Nwakaeme finally equalised for them out nothing ten minutes from time. He held the ball at the edge of the box despite Terengganu defenders' presence, turning one way and another, before curling in a shot that eluded Shamirza's grasp to end up at the back of the net. The home fans erupted to edge their team towards finding the lead.

And just moments later, Nwakaeme almost found his and Kelantan's second goal of the match. He unleased yet another monster of a shot, which hit the crossbar instead.

Boosted by the raucous home support, the Red Warriors finally found the lead in the 88th minute, when a harmless low-shot by Indra was deflected in by Terengganu defender Faizal Mohamad when his keeper had already dived the other way.

It was obvious that Terengganu was by then fatigued by their defensive play, and in the dying minutes of the match, Shamirza conceded a penalty after tripping Nwakaeme. Obinna Nwaneri found no problem converting the spotkick to make it 3-1 to the home side.

And just moments before the final whistle, Kelantan compounded their rivals' misery by adding their fourth. Zairol Anuar was released on the left of the Terengganu box, and he sent in a cracker of a drive that went in the top left corner of the Terengganu net. The whistle was blown afterwards, the match ended 4-1 to the Red Warriors.

Terengganu and Shamirza would feel hard done in by the final scoreline, given that they had been leading until the final ten minutes, but it was undeniable that Kelantan was sterling, refusing to give up their search for an equaliser, before scoring more goals to bury their opponents.

The two teams would meet in Kuala Terengganu for the second leg in the middle of the following week, although it remains to be seen whether Terengganu have it in themselves to reverse the massive deficit.


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