KUALA LUMPUR — Super League side Kelantan had a tough time against 2001 Indonesian League champions Persija Jakarta before carving out a 1-0 victory in the inaugural Boost Sportsfix Super Cup 2018 invitational tournament at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil here tonight.
Playing before more than 5,000 supporters, the Red Warriors went on the offensive as soon as referee Zulkarnain Zakaria blew the starting whistle but the opponent’s defence marshalled by their tall imported striker from Brazil, Jamierson da Silva Xavier was able to contain the attacks.
Persija also had their fair share of chances but Kelantan keeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat was able to keep the shots at bay with no breakthroughs made by either side till half-time.
Kelantan coach Sathit Bensoh made some substitutions on resumption and this clearly paid off with Zulkarnain awarding a penalty after Persija subsitute Vava Mario Yagalo brought down Kelantan striker Ferdinand Alfred from Brazil in the box.
Ferdiand’s compatriot Bruno Lopes who was tasked with taking the penalty had little problems sending the ball past Persija keeper, Dary Ono.
Kelantan next just have to chalk a draw against Thai Premier League side Ratchaburi FC on Saturday at the same venue to be crowned champions of the three-team tournament.
Persija had defeated Ratchaburi FC 3-1 in the opening match on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters after the match, Sathit said he was delighted with the performance of his players despite their opponents putting up a stiff competition.
“I’m happy that we managed to get three important points despite our opponents playing a compact game especially in defence and hopefully this victory will boost the players’ confidence against Ratchaburi FC, this Saturday,” said the Thailand-born coach.
Persija Jakarta head coach, Alessandro Stefano said he was a bit disappointed after they failed to emulate the winning momentum in the tournament.
“I’m happy that our team are invited to this tournament as we made a thorough preparation to face the new season of the Indonesian league.
“Through our participation in this tournament, I managed to identify a few weakness especially our tactics and the fitness of the players before we start our campaign in the AFC Cup competition in a fortnight,” he added. — BERNAMA