Kelantan 1-1 Felda United: Popov’s troops dent Fighters’ title hopes

Felda United were dealt a blow to their title charge after playing out a dramatic 1-1 draw against Kelantan at the Darul Aman Stadium, earlier tonight.

The Fighters started the match brightly by threatening Kelantan’s goal at the very first minute, but Khairul Fahmi stood strong to deny Zah Rahan’s attempt. It didn’t take long for Felda to break the deadlock via Forkey Doe after some good attacking play. The Red Warriors was clearly missing their injured main centre-backs, Muslim Ahmad and Jonathan McKain as the Liberian striker managed to pounce and lobbed the ball over Khairul Fahmi, after the Kelantan defence was caught off guard by Morgaro Gomis’ miscued back header.

Velizar Popov’s side controlled the remainder of the half and had a few good chances to get an equalizer, but they were denied by a solid Felda backline. The best chance fell to Blazhe Ilijoski, who was a fraction too late to connect with Brendan Gan’s cross from the right.

Kelantan continued their dominant display in the second 45 minutes and was almost rewarded instantly after Indra Putra was sent through by Ilijoski’s through ball, but the skipper can only shoot straight to Farizal Harun in a one-on-one situation. Irfan Bakti’s side remained patient from the back and they were close in extending their lead when Christie Jayaseelan managed to find Zah Rahan in the box, but the Liberian was once again denied by Khairul Fahmi.

The match was brought to life minutes later when Wander Luiz Junior controlled a stray ball and let off a blistering strike to the top left corner to give Kelantan a deserved equalizer. Both teams played open football at the final moments of the game to search for a winner, with Jayaseelan and Ilijoski coming close in getting the decisive goal.

The shares were spoiled by the time the final whistle was blown by the referee as Popov reflects on a dramatic night in which Kelantan could have easily gotten all 3 points, if not for Farizal Harun’s inspirational display on goal.

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