The Malaysia Cup remained elusive for Terengganu coach Irfan Bakti as Perak regained the prestigious Malaysia Cup after 18 years with a dramatic 4-1 win on penalties after extra time failed to break a 3-3 deadlock in the final at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday.
The pitch was heavy after the downpour hours earlier but it did not take away the thrills, the drama, scuffles, the emotions, and red cards as referee Suresh Jayaraman earned the wrath of the fans and team officials for his poor handling of the match.
Perak plucked themselves from the trenches not once but twice – the first minute of five minutes of added time and again in the last minute of extra time. In between Suresh disallowed two Perak goals much to the chagrin of Perak fans.
Suresh also played one too many “advantage” on the slippery pitch and had a poor game overall. He also sacked two players from each side.
First to go was Perak’s Brazilian import Gilmar Filho on 57 minutes after a fracas between players from both sides. Ten minutes later Terengganu’s Lee Tuck was sent off for an early shower for a second booking.
The Shah Alam Stadium was packed to the brim with supporters of both teams – Perak in black and yellow and Terengganu in white and black.
The match was only 50 seconds olds when Ivory Coast hitman and Terengganu skipper Kipre Chetche gave his team a dream start when he picked a poor back pass by Perak defender Idris Ahmad and drilled home into a yawning goal after goalkeeper Hafizul Hakim Khairul Nizam Jothy was caught in no man’s land.
Terengganu was 2-0 up on 42 minutes when Hafizul, a national custodian, miskicked an attempted clearance on the top of the box and Tchetche gleefully guided the ball into the open goal.
Firdaus Sayadi narrowed the deficit for Perak in the first minute after the halftime break with an assist from Brendan Gan. Just when Terengganu thought they had sealed victory Brendan sent Perak supporters into a frenzy when he rifled home a first-timer in the first-minute of five minutes of added time and force extra-time.
Six minutes into extra-time Terengganu went 3-2 into the lead when the hardworking Faiz Nasir beat Hafizul with a delightful left-footer into the right corner.
The seconds were ticking away and then came the extra drama when Serbian defender Igor Zonjic turned the ball into his own net to make it 3-3 to send the match into the penalty shootout.
In the lottery, Hafizul turned hero for Perak with two saves from the spot assure Perak victory. It was a double celebration for Perak when Brendan was named the Man of the Match in the final. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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