SMK Zaba of Negeri Sembilan took a huge step towards a place in the semi-finals of the Minister of Education League Cup Under-14 this year when they beat SMK Seri Titiwangsa of Kuala Lumpur 2-0 away on Saturday.
In the match that was played at the Seri Permaisuri Mini Stadium in Cheras, the home team was brimming with confidence as they launched the early offensive in search of the lead.
But with several chances not getting the finishing they deserved, it allowed SMK Zaba to push forward and take the initiative.
And it was through one such quick counter-attack which allowed Muhamaad Hakeem Mohd Razib to slot home the lead in the 16th minute before Muhamad Zharif Nazhan Refli added the second in the 52nd minute.
“Yes we have taken a big step towards the semi-finals but that does not mean that we are out of the woods just yet,” said SMK Zaba head coach Masuwan Mansor.
“Playing at home can be tricky but I hope that the players keep to the game plan and be disciplined for the return tie. Kuala Lumpur was a handful in the first leg and I expect them to do more of the same in Kuala Pilah next week.
“It will be another tough 70 minutes for sure.”
On the other hand Abdul Halim Ismail, the head coach of SMK Seri Titiwangsa admitted that they did not play well at all.
“I believe that the result was fair as really, we did not play well and failed to convert the chances that we had,” said Abdul Halim.
“They (SMK Zaba) took their chances well and while it would seem that they have a spot in the semi-finals in the bag, I hope that we can turn things around for the return tie.
“The gameplan would be to make sure that SMK Zaba feels under pressure. And hopefully that will work to our advantage.”
But it is not only SMK Seri Titiwangsa who would be under pressure for the return tie, where Charity Shield winners SMK Mutiara Impian also found themselves to be at the wrong end of the pitch.
Despite playing at home, the Penang side just found things hard going when they fell to a 4-1 loss to bitter rivals SMK Tunku Anum of Kedah.
Following a first-half deadlock, Muhammad Hafiz Danial Ruslan gave the home team the lead on 38 minute before an own goal from Mohamad Aiman Haiqal Roslan a minute later puts things back on level terms.
Kedah then turned on the power soon after for Mohammad Shazwan Salahuddin to score in the 57th minute and then a double from Mohd Aiman Afif Afizul (65th and 70th minute) for the final scoreline.
Elswhere, the two national sports schools of Gambang and Tunku Mahkota Ismail went through contrasting fortunes enroute in the first leg quarter-finals.
Gambang blasted Melaka’s SMK Seri Kota 5-1 while Tunku Mahkota Ismail was held to a 1-1 draw on the road by SMK Syed Hassan of Perlis.
The second-leg quarter-finals of the Minister of Education League Cup Under-14 will be played on 10 Oct 2015.
RESULTS – QUARTER-FINALS, First leg
Gambang Sports School (U14) 5
SMK Seri Kota (MELAKA) 1
SMK Mutiara Impian (PENANG) 1
SMK Tunku Anum (KEDAH) 4
SMK Seri Titiwangsa (KUALA LUMPUR) 0
SMK Zaba (NEGERI SEMBILAN) 2
SMK Syed Hassan (PERLIS) 1
Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (U14) 1
FIXTURES – QUARTER-FINALS, Second leg (10 Oct 2015)
KICK-OFF at 3pm
SMK Seri Kota (MELAKA) vs Gambang Sports School (U14) – SMK SERI KOTA MINI STADIUM, MELAKA
SMK Tunku Anum (KEDAH) vs SMK Mutiara Impian (PENANG) – SMK TUNKU ANUM MINI STADIUM, JITRA
SMK Zaba (NEGERI SEMBILAN) vs SMK Seri Titiwangsa (KUALA LUMPUR) – SMK ZABA MINI STADIUM, KUALA PILAH
Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (U14) vs SMK Syed Hassan (PERLIS) – MINI STADIUM TUNKU MAHKOTA ISMAIL SPORTS SCHOOL