Malaysian FA Cup Wrap: Kelantan to meet LionsXII in final
Terenggganu won 3-2 on the night but it was not enough to overturn the result on aggregate as the LionsXII went through to mark their first-ever appearance in the FA Cup final.
The Turtles had a mountain to climb as early as the 18th minute when Khairul Amri erased their away goal advantage from the first leg with a composed finish after rounding Sharbinee Allawee and dummying Vincent Bikana and Hasmizan Kamarodin.
Despite Paulo Rangel restoring parity four minutes later, Terengganu were made to pay again by Khairul when Izzdin Shaffiq's free kick was met by Safuwan Baharudin in the penalty box, who headed the ball down for the Singapore striker to finish the move off.
Terengganu kept up the pressure and were eventually rewarded when Safuwan was adjudged to have fouled Rangel in the box in the first half injury time, and the Brazilian picked himself up to put it past the LionsXII goalkeeper.
In the 59th minute, a cross by Rangel was not dealt with by the Lions' defence and was acrobatically latched on by Norsharul Idlan Talaha, making it 3-2 on the night and 4-4 on aggregate.
Terengganu needed one more goal to go through and they thought they found it in the 90th minute when Nordin Alias headed the ball into an empty net following Gustavo Lopez's corner kick, but the goal was correctly ruled offside.
Unhappy with the decision, both Rangel and Lopez were given their marching orders following their remonstrations at the referee and his assistant as the Turtles finished the game with nine men.
The result confirmed the LionsXII’s first-ever appearance in the FA Cup final to duke it out with Kelantan, who knocked out holders Pahang.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Kelantan got an early goal to level the tie on aggregate via Wah Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria, who connected with Wan Zack Haikal's cross and beat goalkeeper Khairul Azhan Khalid in the 17th minute.
Pahang suffered another blow after Azamuddin Akil was sent off for an elbow on Wan Zack in the 33rd minute, but that did not put them off as Dickson Nwakaeme's strong run towards the goal left the Kelantan defence in disarray before setting up R. Gopinathan for the finish in the 58th minute to get a precious away goal.
Kelantan head coach Azraai Khor then made some tactical changes by bringing on Austin Amutu, who proved to be the catalyst they were looking for.
He doubled Kelantan's lead two minutes after coming on, following an intricate build-up at the edge of Pahang's penalty box before beating Saiful Nizam with pace and burying the ball into the back of the net.
With seconds left in the game, Amutu beat four Pahang defenders and unleashed a powerful effort to book Kelantan’s FA Cup final spot.