Kedah dashes Perak’s dream of ending 15-year drought

The 30th edition of the 2019 FA Cup final match saw a stiff contest between the 2 giants from the north


THE goal by up-and-coming young player Mohd Fadzrul Danel Mohd Nizam in the 105th minute enabled Kedah to lift the 2019 FA Cup after beating Perak 1-0 in the final at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

The victory in front of 83,520 supporters at the stadium dashed the dream of the Bos Gaurus squad to end its 15-year wait to lift the prestigious trophy after last winning it in 2004.

The success of the squad managed by Aidil Sharin Sahak also showed that Kedah managed to equalise Selangor’s record of emerging champion for five times after winning the title in 1996, 2007, 2008 and 2017, besides enabling them to play in the sudden death round of the 2020 Asian Champions League.

The 30th edition of the final match saw a stiff contest between the two giants from the north, with both teams demonstrating their strong egos to achieve victory to the extent that the game had to undergo extra time after the 90-minute regulation time ended with a 0-0 result.

As soon as the whistle was sounded — under the watchful eyes of referee Takuto Okabe from Japan, who recorded history by becoming the first imported referee to handle the domestic final match — both teams adopted a cautious game before Perak began to launch dangerous attacks.

Perak, which currently holds the Malaysia Cup title, attempted to break the deadlock early on through import Brazilian Raianderson da Costa Morais; however, the 23-year-old forward’s left-foot effort from close range went wide.

Four minutes later, Raianderson once again tested Kedah’s defence with a header from a cross, but goalkeeper Mohd Ifwat Akmal Che Kassim caught it nicely.

The first half (1H) saw Perak dominate the game, while Kedah absorbed the pressure with wit and calm to end the first 45 minutes at 0-0.

In the 2H, Mehmed Durakovic’s side experienced another missed opportunity as Nazirul Naim Che Hashim’s free kick hit the post in the 49th minute.

Kedah finally found its rhythm in the match as Muhammad Farhan Roslan nearly netted in the first goal, but he shot straight at goalkeeper Muhammad Hafizul Hakim Khairul Nizam Jothy when left one-on-one with the latter.

Perak continued to miss chances in the pursuit of victory as Brendan Gan and Ronaldo Henrique Silva each failed to capitalise on a defensive error in the 70th minute, which saw Mohd Ifwat Akmal do well in front of the goal once again.

The match intensified in the final 10 minutes with both teams looking for the winner, forcing both goalkeepers to work hard to keep their team’s chances alive.

In the 90th minute, Okabe showed Amirul Azhan Aznan the red card after the 26-year-old defender made a hard challenge on Azamuddin Mohd Akil to pick up his second yellow of the night.

Perak — having to endure an extra 30 minutes with 10 players — put up a fierce fight, but Kedah looked destined to win when Mohd Rizal Mohd Ghazali’s cross was put in by Mohd Fadzrul.

The 2019 FA Cup final also had its fair share of historical moments as it is the first to be managed by three referees from Japan, in addition to witnessing the biggest “Viking Clap” at an event with over 80,000 supporters to enter the Malaysia Book of Records.

Famous guitarist Man Kidal also jazzed up the atmosphere, playing the national anthem with an electric guitar before kick-off.

Sultan of Perak Sultan Muizzuddin Nazrin Shah and Sultan of Kedah Al Aminul Karim Sultan Sallehuddin also shook hands with players from both teams prior to the match.

Also present at the match were Raja Permaisuri of Perak Tuanku Zara Salim, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Kedah Mentri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and Perak MB Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.