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Sunday June 1, 2014 MYT 6:29:00 PM
Sunday June 1, 2014 MYT 6:40:51 PM
by eric samuel
Felda United's Ahmad Syamim Yahya (right) challenges for the ball with Kelantan's Mohd Badri Radzi in their FA Cup semi-final second leg match at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday. Felda drew 2-2 for a 5-5 aggregate score but advance to the final on the away goals rule.
PETALING JAYA: Giant-killers Felda United are in a dream final.
Head coach Irfan Bakti said he had been in three FA Cup finals before with state teams Penang (2000 runners-up, 2002 winners) and Terengganu (2012 winners) but never expected his Premier League club side to qualify.
They will now meet Pahang in the final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on June 7.
“I didn’t expect Felda to be in the final, not in my wildest dream,” said Irfan on Sunday.
Felda turned the tables on defending champions Kelantan, advancing on the away goals rule after both teams were tied 5-5 on aggregate in the semi-finals.
The first leg of the semi-finals turned out to be an explosive affair with Kelantan coming from three goals down to hold Felda 3-3 in Kota Baru on May 5.
The return leg on Saturday in Shah Alam was also not short of excitement either with Liberian Edward Junior Wilson scoring a gem of a goal to make it 2-2 at the stroke of stoppage time in the first half.
Irfan described Wilson’s strike as the “goal of the tournament” after he coolly hit the ball from an acute angle and taking national goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat by surprise.
Wilson showed composure and great control to strike the ball first-time with his left-foot from a Mohd Shukor Adan pass. The ball sailed perfectly into goal.
“Wilson said he had to think fast whether to trap the long ball in the box or have a go at goal. He said the two-minute stoppage time was almost up and he decided to go for goal,” said Irfan, who side also defeated Super League sides Sime Darby FC and Sarawak en route to the final.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Kelantan, a four-time finalists in the last six years.
Kelantan lacked a pillar in defence and sorely missed Nigerian Obinne Nwaneri, who was surprisingly off-loaded by KAFA during the second transfer window in April.
Dutch coach George Boateng said Felda won by a fluke goal.
“In a million chance he (Wilson) won’t score like this again. We tried our best to score but only one team was playing football in the second half, the other just parked the bus,” said Boateng.
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