Slim first-leg victories gave Pahang and the LionsXII the edge over Kelantan and Terengganu respectively in the Malaysian FA Cup.
Holders Pahang continue their recent impressive form with a 1-0 win over their east coast opponents, Kelantan.
The only goal of the game came when Razman Roslan played a long ball that was missed by Amiridzwan Taj and landed at the feet of Dickson Nwakaeme, who ran into the box with the ball before laying it for Matias Conti to finish off the move.
Pahang could’ve easily increased their lead in the next 15 minutes as R. Gopinathan found himself in front of an open goal but completely fluffed his attempt, and Norazam Azih took an extra touch instead of passing the ball to either Dickson or Gopinathan for a simple tap-in.
Kelantan head coach Azraai Khor made changes to his side by bringing on Nor Farhan Mohammad and Khairul Izuan for Austin Amutu and Erwin Carrillo early in the second half, which saw an improvement in the Red Warriors’ performance.
Khairul tested Pahang with a free-kick that went over the Elephants’ defensive wall and forced Khairul Azhan into action, who initially failed to catch a routine ball but scrambled over the loose ball before any Kelantan player could.
Norfarhan then ran with the ball from the byline into the penalty box, waltzing and leaving two Pahang players in sixes and sevens, before unleashing a shot that was parried by Khairul and being booted away by Razman.
Kelantan continued to give a good account of themselves in the second half but failed to find an equaliser and an away goal to take into the second leg in Kota Bharu.
At the Jalan Besar Stadium, the LionsXII recorded a 2-1 victory over Terengganu with goals from Khairul Nizam and Faris Ramli, while Gustavo Lopez bagged the elusive away goal.
The Lions were awarded a free kick in the 30th minute, which was floated into the box by Gabriel Quak.
A combination of indecisive defending between Vincent Bikana and Azlan Zainal allowed Khairul to poach on the ball, burying it into the bottom corner.
Four minutes later, they made it 2-0 when Nazrul Nazari’s great work down the line left two Terengganu players in his wake before his cross found Faris at the far post, who rifled the ball past Sharbinee Allawee.
Terengganu responded swiftly five minutes before half time as Guztavo’s stunning free kick left Izwan Mahbud wrong-footed and hapless.
It could’ve been better for the Turtles two minutes later when both Ashari Samsuddin and Manaf Mamat hit the post in the space of few seconds.
In the second half, the LionsXII were the better side but unable to take a healthier lead into the second leg when they travel to Terengganu.
The second leg will be played on May 16th.