Kelantan pulled off a minor miracle on Tuesday to come from three goals down and force a 3-3 draw with FELDA United in the first leg of their Malaysia FA Cup semi-final.
Following a bright start, the visitors duly took the lead at the Sultan Mohammad IV Stadium after 17 minutes when Edward Junior Wilson latched onto Zah Rahan Krangar’s incisive pass and forced his way past Nik Shahrul Azim, before firing away a shot that squirmed under Khairul Fahmi and into the back of the net.
Seven minutes later, Zah Rahan turned provider once more as he made his way past Brendan Gan down the left before whipping a cross to Indra Putra Mahayuddin, who made no mistake in sending a bullet header in at the near post.
And six minutes after the half-hour mark, the contest looked all but over when FELDA racked up their third goal; Khairul Ismail left with a simple tap-in from a yard out after Indra Putra’s left-wing freekick had been nodded back into his path.
But four minutes before halftime, the hosts were handed a lifeline after Francis Forkey Doe beat the offside trap after an excellent through-ball by Badhri Radzi, and proceeded to curl his shot past Farizal Harun.
A minute later, the deficit was reduced further when Ahmad Fakri Saarani was left completely unmarked inside the box to head home Zairul Fitree Ishak’s freekick from the right.
And in the 51st minute, the Red Warriors remarkably pulled level after Doe lofted a visionary ball over the top of the opposition defence, allowing Wan Zaharulnizam to race in behind his man and send a sublime lob over a stranded Farizal and in at the far post.
FELDA did have an excellent chance to claim the win right at the death when Indra Putra raced through and rounded Fahmi but just when he looked set to fire into the unguarded net, Nik Shahrul raced back in time to clear off the line and help his side secure the draw.
Still, the Settlers do have the advantage of three away goals ahead of the second leg on May 31, although there will be plenty for Kelantan to play for at the Majlis Perbandaran Selayang Stadium.
Kelantan: Khairul Fahmi, Farisham Ismail, Nik Shahrul Azim, Hussein Alaa Hussein, Zairul Fitree Ishak, Brendan Gan (Fitri Omar 46′), Amar Rohidan (Mohamed Shawky 46′), Badhri Radzi, Wan Zaharulnizam, Ahmad Fakri Saarani (Khairul Izuan Rosli 50′), Francis Forkey Doe.
FELDA United: Farizal Harun, Rahman Zabul (Qhairul Anwar Roslani 65′), Khairul Ismail, Yaroslav Krushelnitskiy, Aizul Ridzuan Razali, K. Solehin (Raimi Nor 65′), Syahid Zaidon (Shahrulnizam Mustapa 76′), Indra Putra Mahayuddin, K. Thanaraj, Zah Rahan Krangar, Edward Junior Wilson.