Malaysia Cup champions Perak took the hard way to keep their AFC Champions hopes alive after a nail-biting win on penalties over Hong Kong’s Kitchee FC in a second preliminary round match at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh on Tuesday.
Perak could not beat 10-man Kitchee FC in normal time and extra-time ended 1-1 after the visitors were reduced to 10 players when defender Smith was given the sack for stopping Wander Luiz’s shot with his hands inside the box on 48 minutes.
The Bos Gauros, despite the numerical advantage on the field simply failed to get another goal to pile on the pressure on the visitors.
Instead, Kitchee FC never gave up. It became all the more painful for Perak when the homesters allowed Kitchee to get the equalizer in the 86th minute through Li Ngai Hoi who was left unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.
Ngai Hoi had an easy task to beat Perak goalkeeper Hafizul Hakim Khairul Nizam Jothy off a cross from the left by Cheng Chin Lung as the defenders stood rooted.
Earlier, Perak grabbed a 14th-minute lead through Brazilian Wander Luiz who put the finishing touches to a goalbound header from Gilmar Filho off an assist from Rafiuddin Roddin.
Perak was dominant in their game but Luiz, Gilmar, skipper Shahrul Saad, Brendan Gan, Firdaus Saiyadi, J.Partiban, Khairil Anuar were the culprit – woefully missing the chances that came their way.
For all the misses Perak held their nerves for a 6-5 win when it came to the penalties in a match the Bos Gauros would have sealed in normal time.
Kenny Palraj was the toast of the Bos Gauros when he knocked in the vital spot-kick to send the Hong Kong League champions out after the first round of the lottery end 4-4 – with Perak’s Leandro dos Santos and Kitchee’s Li Ngai Hoi missing theirs.
In the second round of penalties, Kitchee scored through Ton King Man for a 5-4 lead but skipper Shahrul Saad made it 5-5 with his spot kick. Hafizul saved Cancela’s kick to give Perak a lifeline.
Then stepped up Kenny Palraj for the winner to take Perak to the next round. RIZAL ABDULLAH