KUALA LUMPUR – Two-time FA Cup champions Kelantan will be meeting Lions XII of Singapore in the FA Cup final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on May 23.
Kelantan, the champions in 2012 and 2013, rose from a 0-1 deficit in the first leg in Kuantan on May 9 to chalk up a convincing 3-1 win over defending champions, Pahang in the second leg semi-final at the Sultan Muhammad Ke-IV Stadium in Kota Bharu, last night.
The win enabled The Red Warriors to book their berth in the final for the fifth time on a 3-2 aggregate. Kelantan qualified for the FA Cup final in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Lions XII of Singapore made it to the final on away goals advantage after drawing 4-4 in aggregate against Terengganu in the other semi-final at Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu.
In the second leg match, the Lions lost 2-3 after winning 2-1 in the first leg at Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore on May 9.
In the match in Kota Bharu, Kelantan opened scoring through Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria in the 17th minute after receiving a cross from Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor.
Pahang winger, R. Gopinathan however equalised for the Elephants in the 57th minute from a pass by Dickson Nwakaeme.
However, the entry of Nigerian import striker, Austin Amutu in the middle of the second half, clearly boosted the rhythm of Kelantan after he blasted two goals in the 75th minute and during the second half injury time to book the ticket to final for The Red Warriors.
In the Lions XII-Terengganu encounter, the East Coast squad were shocked by an early goal in the 16th minute by Lions’ Muhammad Khairul Amri Mohamad Kamal before Brazilian Paulo Rangel equalised for the hosts five minutes later.
Muhammad Khairul Amri was once again on target when he found the net in the 27th minute to put the Lions two goals up.
Rangel again returned to equalise for Terengganu with a penalty during injury time in the first half to put the score at 2-2.
National striker, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha scored in the 59th minute to give Terengganu their third goal in a meelee in front of Lions XII goalmouth.
Terengganu scored their fourth goal in the 89th minute via Ahmad Nordin Alias but was disallowed by referee, Mohd Amirul Izwan Yaacob as Ahmad was found to be offside and had to concede the place in the final to Lions XII who scored more away goals. – Bernama