Pahang retain Malaysia Cup after downing JDT on penalties

Pahang were crowned Malaysia Cup champions for the second year running after beating Johor Darul Ta’zim on penalties following a 2-2 draw in Saturday’s final.

In a thrilling clash at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, it was Tok Gajah who drew first blood in the 15th minute when Dickson Nwakaeme capitalised on some slack marking to meet Azidan Sairudin’s freekick with a glancing header past Al-Hafiz Hamzah.

However, JDT responded two minutes after the half-hour mark when Luciano Figueroa nodded Mahalli Jasuli’s deep cross back into the danger area and although Fadhli Shas’ initial shot was blocked, Jorge Pereyra Diaz reacted quickest to lash home the loose ball.

Just two minutes later, Harimau Selatan were presented with the perfect opportunity to edge ahead when they were awarded a penalty, after Pahang skipper Razman Roslan had handled the ball inside the box to prevent it from breaking through to Figueroa.

Still, all he did was delay the inevitable as Figueroa stepped up to the spot and sent Khairul Azhan Khalid the wrong way to put his side in front.

Darul Ta’zim were then unfortunate not to extend their lead eight minutes into the second half when Pereyra Diaz played a brilliant through-pass to release Figueroa, only for him to send his shot back off the post.

By now, things were starting to look dangerous for Pahang and they were dealt a huge blow in the 68th minute when Saifulnizam Miswan was shown a straight red; the defender penalised for throwing a punch at Amri Yahyah as both were jostling at a corner.

But remarkably, despite the numerical deficit, Zainal Abidin’s charges pulled level just three minutes later after Hafiz Kamal’s long ball was flicked on by Matias Conti into the path of Damion Stewart, who unselfishly laid the ball off for Nwakaeme to side-foot into the back of the net.

Having equalised against the odds, Tok Gajah looked content to play out the remainder of the 90 minutes and force extra-time but Darul Ta’zim did have one final opportunity to win it in regulation time in the 87th minute.

After carving open the opposition defence with a neat passing move, the ball eventually fell to Pereyra Diaz on the edge of the area but Azhan got a vital touch to push his shot onto the post, before Razman hacked the loose ball clear with a couple of Harimau Selatan players lurking.

Extra-time ultimately arrived and again Pereyra Diaz was looming as the likeliest source of a winner, only to be let down by his finishing.

The Argentine failed to keep his header down in the 98th minute when he was picked out inside the box by Amirulhadi Zainal following a sweeping counterattack, and two minutes later, he blazed over with only Azhan to beat after latching onto Figueroa’s nod-down and easily skipping past Zesh Rehman.

Pahang did have one opening where they threatened to steal the win in the 109th minute when R. Gopinathan cut in from the right, before firing away a curling right-footed effort that had Al-Hafiz scrambling but ended up in the side-netting.

In the end, it was the dreaded penalty shootout that was required to separate the two teams and the first six kicks were dispatched with minimal fuss; Razman, Stewart and Shahrizan Salleh netting for Tok Gajah while JDT’s three efforts were converted by Figueroa, Pereyra Diaz and Hariss Harun.

Nonetheless, the drama then arrived after Rehman had made it 4-3 to Pahang as Norshahrul Idlan Talaha stepped up, only to see his tame effort comfortably saved by Azhan.

That paved the way for Hafiz to emerge as the hero for Pahang and he made no mistake in smashing his spot-kick into the top corner, sealing a second consecutive Malaysia Cup triumph for his side in the process.

Johor Darul Ta’zim: Al-Hafiz Hamzah, Mahalli Jasuli (Amirulhadi Zainal 62’), Marcos Antonio (Hariss Harun 103’), Fadhli Shas, Asraruddin Putra Omar, Shakir Shaari (Norshahrul Idlan Talaha 91’), Safiq Rahim, Jasazrin Jamaluddin, Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Amri Yahyah, Luciano Figueroa.

Pahang: Khairul Azhan Khalid, Saifulnizam Miswan, Razman Roslan, Damion Stewart, Shahrizan Salleh, Azamuddin Akil, Azidan Sairudin (Fauzi Roslan 101’), Faizol Hussein (Hafiz Kamal 62’), R. Gopinathan, Matias Conti (Zesh Rehman 78’), Dickson Nwakaeme.

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JDT see off FELDA to set up final clash with Pahang

Johor Darul Ta’zim are through to the Malaysia Cup final after a 3-1 win over FELDA United in the second leg of their semi-final handed them a 6-5 aggregate triumph.

Luciano Figueroa had fired Harimau Selatan in front on the half-hour mark when he scored with a stunning freekick, but FELDA equalised six minutes later after slack defending left Raimi Nor completely unmarked to finish at the far post.

However, JDT reclaimed the lead in the 70th minute when Figueroa struck again after heading home an excellent cross from Jorge Pereyra Diaz – netting his eighth goal of the campaign in the process.

And just two minutes later, they went on to make sure of the win – and their spot in the final – when Amri Yahyah raced onto Pereyra Diaz’s incisive through-pass and coolly lifted his shot over the onrushing Farizal Harun.

Nonetheless, the game did end on an ugly note after Darul Ta’zim winger Nazrin Nawi and FELDA counterpart Abdul Latiff Suhaimi were both sent off in the closing stages following a heated confrontation.

Apart from Nazrin, Bojan Hodak’s charges will also be without talismanic centre-back Aidil Zafuan, who will be suspended after picking up a booking for a reckless challenge midway through the second half.

Standing in between Darul Ta’zim, who also win the Super League this season, and their second piece of silverware are Pahang, who booked their spot in the final with a 6-3 triumph in their last-four clash with Kedah.

Johor Darul Ta’zim: Al-Hafiz Hamzah, Mahalli Jasuli (Nazrin Nawi 46’), Aidil Zafuan, Fadhli Shas, Asraruddin Putra Omar, Hariss Harun, Safiq Rahim, Amri Yahyah (Amirulhadi Zainal 77’), Jorge Pereyra Diaz (Marcos Antonio 85’), Jasazrin Jamaluddin, Luciano Figueroa.

FELDA United: Farizal Harun Qhairul Anwar Roslani, Shukor Adan, Hasni Zaidi Jamian, Adib Aizuddin, Shahrulnizam Mustapa, Indra Putra Mahayuddin (K. Thanaraj 71’), Raimi Nor (Abdul Latiff Suhaimi 88’), Zah Rahan Krangar, Edward Junior Wilson, Ndumba Makeche.

Pahang brush aside Kedah to make Malaysia Cup final

Pahang recorded a dominant 5-0 win over Kedah in the second leg of their Malaysia Cup semi-final on Friday to advance to the final with a 6-3 aggregate triumph.

Entering the tie at the Darulmakmur Stadium trailing 3-1 from the first leg, Tok Gajah knew they needed a strong performance if they were to have any chance of overturning the deficit.

They gave themselves an excellent chance of doing just that when they took the lead after just five minutes; Matias Conti climbing highest to meet Azidan Sairudin’s corner with a firm header past Saiful Amar Sudar.

And in the 26th minute, it was 2-0 after Azamuddin Akil created space for himself before playing a dangerous cross into the six-yard box, where R. Gopinathan made no mistake in stabbing home from close range.

Had the scoreline remained the same, it would have been enough to see the hosts progress on the away goals rule but just for good measure, they added a third on the half-hour mark.

Azamuddin was the architect once more as he beat his man down the right before whipping in a precise delivery to the near post for Conti, who made no mistake in turning the ball into the back of the net.

By now, Pahang were in complete control of proceedings and the contest looked to be over eight minutes before the break when Conti completed his hat-trick – rifling a first-time shot past Saiful Amar after Dickson Nwakaeme had held up the ball inside the box before laying a neat pass into the path of his strike partner.

With a comfortable lead in their possession, Tok Gajah looked content to  consolidate their advantage by killing off the game in the second 45.

But there was still one final hurrah to come from them and it arrived in the 74th minute through a fine individual effort by Gopinathan, who embarked on a blistering run from the halfway line and left two defenders in his wake before blasting his shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle.

The victory keeps alive Pahang’s hopes of retaining the Malaysia Cup and they will find out who their opponents in the final are on Saturday when Johor Darul Ta’zim face off against FELDA United.

Pahang: Khairul Azhan Khalid, Razman Roslan, Damion Stewart, Saifulnizam Miswan, Shahrizan Salleh, Azamuddin Akil (Fauzi Roslan 90’), Azidan Sairudin, Faizol Hussein (Hafiz Kamal 76’), R. Gopinathan, Matias Conti (Zesh Rehman 86’), Dickson Nwakaeme.

Kedah: Saiful Amar Sudar, Rizal Ghazali, Adam Griffiths, Khairul Helmi Johari, Shafizan Hashim, Syazwan Tajudin, Hanif Mat Dzahir (Syafiq Ahmad 62’), Farhan Roslan, Woong Nam-gung (Khyril Muhymeen Zambri 9’), Baddrol Bakhtiar (Syazwan Zainon 82’), Billy Mehmet.

FELDA strike late to claim cup advantage over Darul Ta’zim

FELDA United have the slimmest of leads in their Malaysia Cup semi-final against Johor Darul Ta’zim after recording a 4-3 win in Monday’s first leg.

It was FELDA who took the lead at the Majlis Perbandaran Selayang Stadium after just seven minutes, when Edward Junior Wilson unleashed a 20-yard strike that deflected off Aidil Zafuan and sailed past Al-Hafiz Hamzah.

Two minutes before halftime, it was 2-0 and once again the hosts benefitted from a wicked deflection as Ahmad Syamim Yahya’s speculative effort flew past a hapless Al-Hafiz.

Darul Ta’zim were able to pull one back eight minutes into the second half, when Jorge Pereyra Diaz broke free inside the box and coolly dispatched his shot into the back of the net.

And although the hosts were reduced to ten men three minutes later after Nasriq Baharom was shown a second yellow, it looked as though they had regained their control on proceedings a minute after the hour mark when Ndumba Makeche saw off a challenge from Fadhli Shas before smashing his shot into the roof of the net.

But again, JDT hit back in the 81st minute and this time it was Luciano Figueroa who provided the spark; meeting Amri Yahyah’s incisive pass with a deft volley into the bottom corner.

A minute from time, the visitors really made the most of their numerical advantage as they remarkably pulled level after Pereyra Diaz skipped past a challenge outside the box, before rifling a shot into the back of the net.

Nonetheless, in the fourth minute of injury-time, FELDA went on to claim the win after Makeche was allowed to advance into the box and sent a perfectly-weighted lob over Al-Hafiz and into the back of the net.

Starting XIs – FELDA United v Johor Darul Ta’zim

FELDA United: Farizal Harun, Nasriq Baharom, Shukor Adan, Hasni Zaidi Jamian, Aizul Ridzuan Razali, Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Shahrulnizam Mustapa, Zah Rahan Krangar, Ahmad Syamim Yahya, Edward Junior Wilson, Ndumba Makeche.

Johor Darul Ta’zim: Al-Hafiz Hamzah, Daudsu Jamaluddin, Aidil Zafuan, Fadhli Shas, Asraruddin Putra Omar, Shakir Shaari, Hariss Harun, Amri Yahyah, Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Nazrin Nawi, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha.

Kedah down Pahang to put one foot in Malaysia Cup final

Kedah are 90 minutes away from making the Malaysia Cup final after claiming a 3-1 win over Pahang in the first leg of their semi-final tie.

Hijau-Kuning took the lead at the Darul Aman Stadium after nine minutes when Woong Nam-gung was left in acres of space 30 yards out, and proceeded to send a stunning 30-yard drive into the back of the net.

Four minutes after the hour mark, the hosts doubled their lead when Baddrol Bakhtiar did well to break free down the left before floating an excellent cross to the far post, where it was met by Farhan Roslan with a firm header past Khairul Azhan Khalid.

Pahang did manage to reduce the deficit – and grab a valuable away goal – in the first minute of injury-time, when Matias Conti drilled in a low shot from the edge of the box that took a wicked deflection and made its way into the bottom corner.

But right before the end, Kedah ensured they would have a two-goal lead to take into Friday’s return encounter when Billy Mehmet’s exquisite first-time pass released Syafiq Ahmad, who unselfishly lifted the ball over Khairul Azhan and into the path of Khyril Muhymeen Zambri to fire into the unguarded net.

Kedah: Saiful Amar Sudar, Shafizan Hashim, Adam Griffiths, Khairul Helmi Johari, Syazwan Tajuddin (Khyril Muhymeen Zambri 81’), Baddrol Bakhtiar (Zuraindey Jumai 90’), Hanif Mat Dzahir, Farhan Roslan, Woong Nam-gung (Syafiq Ahmad 58’), Rizal Ghazali, Billy Mehmet.

Pahang: Khairul Azhan Khalid, Razman Roslan, Zesh Rehman, Saifulnizam Miswan, Shahrizan Salleh, Azamuddin Akil, Azidan Sairudin, Faizol Hussein, R. Gopinathan, Fauzi Roslan (R. Surendran 73’), Matias Conti.

JDT see off Terengganu to advance into cup semis

Johor Darul Ta’zim are through to the last four of the Malaysia Cup after claiming a 3-1 win over Terengganu in the second leg of their quarter-final tie.

With the tie evenly poised following a 0-0 draw in the first leg, it was Harimau Selatan who broke the deadlock at the Larkin Stadium in the 16th minute; Safiq Rahim climbing highest inside the box to meet Nazrin Nawi’s left-wing cross with a thumping header into the back of the net.

Six minutes later, they doubled their advantage when Luciano Figueroa received possession from Amri Yahyah and fired away a shot that took a wicked deflection and beat the wrong-footed Sharbinee Allawee Ramli.

Terengganu did give themselves a glimmer of hope on the hour mark after hitting their opponents on the counter, when Ashaari Shamsuddin beat the offside trap and raced onto an Ismail Faruqi Asha’ri through-pass before calmly slotting into the bottom corner.

Nonetheless, the contest was ended 15 minutes from time when Safiq met Norshahrul Idlan Talaha’s cut-back with an emphatic finish to seal JDT’s passage to the semi-finals.

Johor Darul Ta’zim: Al-Hafiz Hamzah, Fadhli Shas, Aidil Zafuan, Marcos Antonio (Hariss Harun 57’), Asraruddin Putra Omar, Shakir Shaari, Safiq Rahim, Amri Yahyah (Jasazrin Jamaluddin 86’), Jorge Pereyra Diaz (Norshahrul Idlan Talaha 71’), Nazrin Nawi, Luciano Figueroa.

Terengganu: Sharbinee Allawee Ramli, Muhaimin Omar, Ahmad Azlan Zainal, Vincent Bikana, Zubir Azmi, Ahmad Nordin Alias, Mario Karlovic, Norfarhan Muhammad, Ismail Faruqi Asha’ri (Javier Estupinan 86’), Zairo Anuar Zalani (Abdul Manaf Mamat 56’), Ashaari Shamsuddin (Faiz Subri 79’).

Pahang through to semis after late fightback at PDRM

Pahang came from behind to beat PDRM 2-1 on Saturday evening to advance from the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals with a 3-2 aggregate victory.

With the tie evenly poised after last week’s 1-1 draw in the first leg, it was the Cops who drew first blood at the Shah Alam Stadium when Fauzi Abdul Majid nodded home a freekick by Ali Ashfaq.

However, Pahang pulled level in the 77th minute when Zesh Rehman was left unmarked inside the box and met Azamuddin Akil’s dangerous corner with a glancing header into the back of the net from five yards out.

The visitors were however dealt a blow six minutes from time when Damion Stewart was sent off, after the Jamaica international was shown a second yellow for cynically tugging back Ashfaq.

And with time running out, their best bet looked like holding out for extra-time and penalties, given PDRM needed no invitation to push forward and seek to capitalise on their numerical advantage, especially considering the firepower they had up front.

But in the first minute of injury-time, it was Tok Gajah who went on to claim the victory when substitute Fauzi Roslan made a terrific run into the box and latched onto Faizol Hussein’s incisive through-pass, before lashing his shot past Azizon Abdul Kadir into the bottom corner.

The win means Pahang’s hopes of retaining the Malaysia Cup remain alive as they join FELDA United and Kedah in the last four, with the one remaining slot to be decided in the last quarter-final between Johor Darul Ta’zim and Terengganu.

PDRM: Azizon Abdul Kadir, V. Thirumurugan, Rafael, Muslim Ahmad, Fadhil Hashim, Afif Amiruddin, Fauzi Abdul Majid (Sabre Mat Abu), Ahmad Ezrie Shafizie, Mohamadou Sumareh (Charles Souza Chad), Bobby Gonzales, Ali Ashfaq.

Pahang: Khairul Azhan Khalid, Razman Roslan, Damion Stewart, Zesh Rehman, Saifulnizam Miswan, Azidan Sairudin, Faizol Hussein (Shahrizan Salleh), Hafiz Kamal (Fauzi Roslan), Azamuddin Akil, R. Gopinathan, Dickson Nwakaeme.