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PKNS 2-2 Perak: Late Thiago header leaves FA Cup tie wide open

Perak put one foot in the final of the FA Cup after scoring two away goals in a 2-2 draw against PKNS the semi-final first leg match at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Krubong tonight.

The Red Ants head coach E. Elavarasan wanted nothing less than a win and a clean sheet as the ex-FELDA United boss fielded a strong line-up, with all of his foreign players involved. The Bos Gaurus head coach Syamsul Saad, or possibly Pep Guardiola in disguise, went to the game with the intention of getting at least an away goal as he started a familiar eleven.

The FA Cup tie kicked off with a bang when Brazilian forward Elias Fernandes de Oliveira was given the time and space to strike his effort as early as 40 seconds into the match. However, PKNS goalkeeper G. Jeevananthan managed to confidently parry it away.

Photo Credit: PKNS FC
Photo Credit: PKNS FC

The home side immediately responded through Gabriel Guerra, who is PKNS’ topscorer in the Malaysia Premier League (MPL) this season with five goals to his name, as he was clean through on goal but Perak goalkeeper Hafizul Hakim pushed his shot out for a corner.

Juan Manuel Cobelli put the ball past Hafizul Hakim on the 18th minute but his goal was disallowed as the Argentinian was in an offside position before the ball was crossed in. The ex-Newell’s Old Boy player was seemingly frustrated with the linesman for his decision.

Vokhid Shodiev, who received a great deal of praise from team manager Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya for scoring in his side’s defeat to Pahang last week, missed a glorious chance on the 27th minute when his header went wide after a brilliant cross from Azrul Nizam.

Photo Credit: Perak The Bos Gaurus
Photo Credit: Perak The Bos Gaurus

Perak captain Thiago Junio saw his header saved from close range by G. Jeevananthan, before Juan Cobelli came close to scoring again at the other end of the field and yet again, his header was comfortably saved by Hafizul Hakim a few minutes before half-time.

The second half began and PKNS FC was awarded a penalty after Juan Manuel Cobelli was fouled in the penalty box. Gabriel Guerra stepped up to score his eighth goal of the season.

The Bos Gaurus midfielder Nurridzuan Abu Hassan almost troubled G. Jeevananthan after his free-kick from distance bounced right in front of the ex-Johor Darul Ta’azim (JDT) player. In a heartbeat, Nurridzuan Hassan popped out of nowhere to head in the equalizer for Syamsul Saad’s side from a Firdaus Saiyadi corner, who came on to replace Erick Weeks Lewis.

Photo Credit: Astro Awani
Photo Credit: Astro Awani

Gabriel Guerra received a through ball and made the most out of Shahrul Saad’s error as he brilliantly performed an Eric Cantona-esque run to pass the ball to the back of the net.

Nurridzuan Abu Hassan, who has been Perak’s best player tonight, could have levelled the game for his side but his left-footed was brilliantly saved by G. Jeevananthan. However, the goalkeeper could not stop Thiago Junio’s powerful header from going in the back of the net in the dying seconds of the game. The Perak fans in Krubong was in a state of ecstasy.

The return leg will be at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh on April 30.

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