SHAH ALAM – Kedah had to go through the drama of a sudden death penalty shootout before being finally crowned Malaysia Cup champions for the fifth time.
And how sweet the 6-5 shootout win must have tasted for Kedah as they exacted revenge on Selangor at the Shah Alam Stadium after both teams were tied 1-1 in extra time.
In normal time, Mohd Rizal Ghazali put the Red Eagles ahead in the 52nd minute, but Selangor hit back eight minutes later through Ahmad Hazwan Bakri.
Both teams failed to find the target even in extra time and the game had to be decided on a shootout.
Even that was full of drama, before Rizal Ghazali netted the winner from the eighth kick.
For Selangor, Ugoh Ukah, Patrick Wleh, Mauro Olivi, S. Veenod and Andik Vermansyah scored from the spot but Hafiz Kamal, Azmi Muslim and Rizal Fahmi Rosid failed to convert.
Kedah’s scorers in the shootout were Abdul Halim Saari, Baddrol Bakhtiar, Liridon Krasniqi, Farhan Roslan and Bang Seung-Hwan while Shane Smeltz and Mohd Amirul Hisyam failed with their attempts.
The first half saw Selangor enjoying the better of the exchanges, but were let down by the poor finishing of strikers Ahmad Hazwan and Wleh.
Ahmad Hazwan, who was the hero when he scored both Selangor’s goals in their 2-0 win over Kedah in last year’s final, had a couple of chances while Wleh could have ended his three-month goal drought if only he had been more composed in front of goal – especially in the one-on-one duel with Kedah goalkeeper Mohd Ifwat Akmal in the 26th minute.
Kedah had a jittery start and only came alive towards the end of the first half.
Even then, they found Selangor defenders Ugoh Ukah and Rizal Fahmi a stumbling block.
The half-time pep talk must have been effective as both teams took to the field with more verve.
But it was Selangor who again looked the more dangerous, with skipper Andik’s goal-bound shot saved on the line by Kedah defender Amirul in the 47th minute.
Ahmad Hazwan then missed a sitter two minutes later.
Just when Selangor were gaining momentum, Kedah struck against the run of play through new national call-up Rizal Ghazali in the 52nd minute. The right-back’s shot deflected off Selangor’s S. Veenod’s back before sailing into the back of the net.
Kedah’s lead lasted for only 10 minutes as Wleh set up Ahmad Hazwan to score the equaliser in the 60th minute. It was a clinical finish by Ahmad Hazwan, who burst past his marker before slotting the ball past helpess Kedah goalkeeper Mohd Ifwat. – The Star Online