Terengganu jumped a spot in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) after a thrilling 3-2 win over bottom of the table side Sarawak at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah earlier tonight.
The Turtles head coach Mike Mulvey made four changes from his side’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Kelantan last month, bringing in the likes of Sharin Sapien, Ashari Samsudin and team captain Ahmad Nordin Alias. The Crocs boss Datuk K. Rajagopal has been struggling to transform Sarawak into a formidable team in 2016 as they sit at the bottom of the league.
The match kicked off and the home side immediately gained full control of possession. Joseph Kalang Tie, who spent four years in Sarawak, opened the scoring on the 13th minute after he comfortably slotted the ball home from outside the box after a good lay-off from Ashari Samsudin. The midfielder chose not to celebrate out of respect for the Sarawak fans.
Ashari Samsudin was involved again after Issey Nakajima-Farran’s through ball found him but Iqbal Suhaimi denied the midfielder from doubling his side’s lead on the 16th minute.
A minute later, Sarawak stunned the home crowd when Ndumba Makeche levelled the scoring after brilliantly holding off Hasmizan Kamarodin to place it past Sharbinee Allawee. The Australian striker played a part in Sarawak’s next attack when he found ex-Harimau Muda A player Syahrul Azwari, who saw his shot go inches wide on the 22nd minute.
Júnior Aparecido, or commonly known as Juninho, could have gained the lead for Datuk K. Rajagopal’s side but his 25-yard free-kick was brilliantly saved by Sharbinee Allawee.
Terengganu was moving the ball around in central midfield before it struck the referee and immediately Sarawak broke on the counter-attack, and then Nur Shamie Iszuan’s cross struck the hand of Hasmizan Kamarodin in the penalty box. The referee awarded them a penalty and Juninho calmly placed it to the right-hand side of the goal to take the lead.
Issey Nakajima-Farran almost pulled one back before half-time but his shot hit the post.
Terengganu kicked off the second half in a similar manner to the start of the first half — with an early goal. Issey Nakajima-Farran was fouled right outside the box by Sarawak captain Shahrol Saperi. Gustavo Lopez saw his free-kick parried onto the bar by Iqbal Suhaimi but Ahmad Nordin Alias pounced on the rebound to equalize on the 53rd minute of the encounter.
Iqbal Suhaimi managed to get his hands on Ashari Samsudin’s shot on the 55th minute, before saving yet another attempt from Issey Nakajima-Farran a few minutes later.
The tempo of the match slowed down a tad bit after a few substitutions were made.
On the 70th minute, Ashari Samsudin received a pass from outside the box as he was left unmarked and curled an effort past Iqbal Suhaimi to regain the lead for Terengganu. He was eventually substituted by Juan Jose Morales and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
The referee blew the full time whistle to indicate all three points to Terengganu.
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