Pahang and Kedah win first-leg FA Cup semis

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On a night when foreigners scored all the goals for their respective teams defending champions, Pahang beat Perak 3-1 and Kedah edged a gritty Felda United 1-0 at home in their first-leg FA Cup semi-final matches on Saturday.
 
Pahang outplayed Perak at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan but the Bos Gauros threw themselves a lifeline with an away goal for the return-leg in Ipoh with J. Partiban netting in the 54th minute.
 
The Elephants rode on a brace by their French defender Herold Goulon with his first coming via a powerful header off an assist by international Nor Azam Azih as early as the 11th minute much to the delight of the home fans.
 
Naturalized Malaysian, Gambia-born Mohamadou Sumareh doubled the lead for Pahang when he whipped in a cross by Norshahrul Idlan Talaha in the 40th-minute after Nigerian Dickson Nwakaeme was replaced due to injury on the half-hour mark.
 
Goulon then blasted in a long-range freekick which foxed Perak’s national custodian Hafizul Hakim Khairul Nizam Jothy in added time for a comfortable win and a foot in the final.
 
At the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Setar, the Red Eagles found it tough against a depleted Felda United before snatching a win via a penalty in the 69th minute.
 
Spanish striker Fernando Rodriguez made no mistake from the spot to send former international Norazlan Razali who until then was the stumbling block to the homesters – stopping goal-bound attempts from Jonatan Bauman, Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak and Renan Alves.
 
However, it Alves who paved the way for the winner for Kedah when he was felled inside the box during a corner kick.
 
Kedah will not have it easy for the return-leg at the Tun Abdul Razak Stadium in Jengka as Felda will be at full strength. On Saturday the Fighters were without Thiago Aquino and Masaki Watanabe because of suspension and Khairul Amri who is injured. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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