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Kelantan 2-2 Sarawak: Crocs earn first point through Makeche onslaught

Kelantan continued their undefeated start to the season with a 2-2 draw against bottom-of-the-table Sarawak in Matchday 3 of the Malaysia Super League (MSL) at the Sultan Mohammad IV Stadium in Kota Bharu tonight. Kelantan conceded their first goals of the season, whereas Sarawak successfully earned their first point in the 2016 MSL.

Pamoga Qu Puteh The Red Warriors (PQPTRW) head coach K. Devan, who is surprisingly under so much pressure despite managing two wins and a draw away from home, started all four of his foreign players. Former national team manager Datuk K. Rajagopal also did the same, including fielding ex-Kelantan player Gilmar at the top of his 4-1-4-1 formation.

Sarawak started the game well with a couple of ‘Barcelona-like’ passes between the players, before scoring the opening goal on the 8th minute. Team captain Ronny Harun took a long throw-in near the edge of the penalty box and it landed at Ndumba Makeche’s feet, who turned and slotted the ball past Khairul Fahmi Che Mat in goal. The former FELDA United sensation scored his first goal of the season for The Crocs which drove the away fans wild.

Photo Credit: TRWFC
Photo Credit: TRWFC

Kelantan instantly responded with an attempt from Wan Zack Haikal from outside the box. The ex-FC Ryukyu played successfully dribbled a few players before firing a few yards wide.

A few minutes later, Dramane Traoré saw his header fly a few inches off target. 31 year-old Baže Ilijoski tried his luck from 20 yards out but failed to hit the target. He had all the time and space to carefully place his shot, but Kelantan struggled to get a shot on goal.

There were a few technical issues as TV9 suddenly stopped broadcasting the game.

Photo Credit: TRWFC
Photo Credit: TRWFC

The coverage resumed and Kelantan was still piling pressure on King Raja’s men. Dramane Traoré and Baže Ilijoski both missed glorious opportunities again as they could not direct it on goal. In a heartbeat, a through ball from ex-Roma midfielder Jonatan Lucca left Baže Ilijoski in a great position as he slotted it past Iqbal Suhaimi, who was badly positioned.

The second half kicked off and it was raining cats and dogs. There were tackles everywhere and referee Mohammad Amirul Izwan was handing out bookings like candy on Halloween.

The first attempt of the half went to 33 year-old Australian defender Jonathan McKain, who saw his shot saved by Iqbal Suhaimi. At the other end of the field, Juninho’s free kick from close distance was brilliantly saved by Khairul Fahmi as he pushed it out for a corner.

The tempo of the game then sided the home side with more attacks constantly troubling the Sarawak defence. Team captain Badhri Radzi, or commonly known as ‘Piya’, had two attempts but he unfortunately missed the target on both occasions.

On the 63rd minute, Baže Ilijoski scored his second goal of the game from five yards out to give PQPTRW the lead after a good cross from Wan Zack Haikal, who has been consistent all night for them. The Macedonian international scored with his chest.

Photo Credit: TRWFC
Photo Credit: TRWFC

Ten minutes later, Sarawak equalized through Makeche after a series of poor defending from the Kelantan defenders. The Zambian-born Australian scored an open goal after J. Parthiban’s effort was saved by Apek. Like Baže Ilijoski, Makeche scored his second goal of the game.

The referee blew the final whistle to indicate a draw between both sides.

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