Kelantan FA 1-3 LionsXII
Written by: Nigel Chin
23 May 2015: A late brace from super-sub Sahil Suhaimi helped LionsXII to a historic 3-1 win over Kelantan FA at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in the Malaysia FA Cup final.
Wan Zack Haikal’s second-half equaliser had cancelled out Faris Ramli’s early opener as LionsXII were forced to defend for large parts of the game, until Sahil struck twice in the 81st and 90th minute to win his side their first-ever FA Cup.
The Singapore side needed just seven minutes to break the deadlock, with Faris rounding Kelantan FA custodian Khairul Fahmi to slot into the empty net after Izzdin Shafiq played him through with a perfectly weighted pass.
Kelantan almost got a perfect response after Badri Radzi played Wan Zack in, only for Izwan Mahbud to foil the Kelantan right winger with an outstretched leg.
From the resulting corner, Gilmar Da Silva out-jumped everyone to meet the ball, but he sent his header into the side-netting instead.
The pressure from Kelantan continued, but both Gilmar and Wan Zack shot over before Erwin Carillo was denied by Izwan and Nazrul Nazari from inside the box.
There was a rare respite for the LionsXII after Khairul Amri latched onto the loose ball deep inside the attacking third. However, the striker rushed his shot and dragged it wide of the Kelantan goal.
Six minutes before half-time, Wan Zack got the better of Hafiz Sujad on the right side of the area, but he shot into the side-netting instead.
LionsXII registered the first shot of the second half when Amri found Khairul Nizam with a cross, but the latter’s effort was over.
A lucky deflection off Madhu Mohana almost allowed Carillo to break through minutes later at the other end, but he was prevented from scoring by Izwan after the keeper came out quickly to clear the ball.
A promising move from Kelantan in the 56th minute resulted in Wan Zack smashing yet another shot over, as Kelantan’s wastefulness continued.
But their pressure soon paid off, with the winger scoring the equaliser in the 62nd minute by stabbing a lobbed pass from Gilmar past Izwan.
Kelantan almost took the lead minutes later after Carillo unleashed a long range shot that was destined for the top corner, until Izwan pulled off a wonderful save with his finger-tips.
The LionsXII had their backs to the corner, and got away in the 73rd minute after Farhan Mohamad’s piledriver smashed against the woodwork.
Substitute Sahil then gave LionsXII their second lead of the game just eight minutes before time with a stunning effort.
After intercepting the ball just inside Kelantan’s half, the striker ran unchallenged before checking onto his right just outside the area to fire a grounder into the net past Fahmi’s outstretched arms.
Safuwan had a chance minutes later to put the result beyond doubt, but he headed a corner straight at Fahmi despite being unmarked.
Sahil however, did just that in injury time, converting the spot-kick he earned by putting it into the top corner to clinch the Malaysia FA Cup trophy for his side.
Kelantan: Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Nik Shahrul Azim, Jonathan McKain, Amirizdwan Taj Tajuddin, Noor Hazrul, Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor (Iwuji Amachi 75’), Wan Zaharulnizam Zakaria, Norhafiz Zamani Misbah (Farhan Mohamad 72’), Mohd Badhri Radzi (C), Erwin Carrillo, Gilmar Filho
LionsXII: Izwan Mahbud (GK)(C), Nazrul Nazari, Madhu Mohana, Zulfahmi Arifin, Hafiz Sujad, Izzdin Shafiq, Safuwan Baharudin, Gabriel Quak (Christopher James van Huizen 89’), Faris Ramli, Khairul Amri (Firdaus Kasman 81’), Khairul Nizam (Sahil Suhaimi 58’)