Kelantan's Francis Doe (left) and Felda United's Mohd Rahman Zabul in a scuffle during their FA Cup semi-final first-leg match on May 6, 2014. The match ended 3-3. – Bernama Photo
PETALING JAYA: Felda United did a Liverpool and blew up a good chance of qualifying for their first FA Cup final.
The Premier League outfit raced to a three-goal lead in the opening 35 minutes against defending champions Kelantan in the semi-final first leg at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru on Tuesday.
However, all their hard work went to waste as the east coast side clawed their way back to draw 3-3.
Felda scored through Edward Junior Wilson (18th), Indra Putra Mahayuddin (25th) and Mohd Khairul Ismail (35th) before the Red Warriors stormed back with goals by Francis Doe (41st), Ahmad Fakri Saarani (43rd) and Wan Zaharulnizam Zakaria (51st).
Felda head coach Irfan Bakti said his team paid the price for being complacent and taking their foot off the pedal after the three goals.
“The boys thought the three goals were a comfortable margin and took things easy. The truth is three goals is not a big margin in football.
“Kelantan took advantage to score two soft goals within a two-minute spell late in the first half. Some of our players were ball-watching. This gave Kelantan the break and they got themselves back in the game,” fumed Irfan.
The former Selangor coach said the players should have learnt from the mistakes made by Liverpool in their English Premier League match against Crystal Palace on Tuesday morning.
“Liverpool were leading 3-0 but Crystal Palace bounced back to draw the game 3-3. The bottom line is that a game is won in 90 minutes. So, we paid a heavy price. We came here to win but the only positive we can take from this match is that we returned home with valuable away goals,” said Irfan.
The second-leg clash will be at the Shah Alam Stadium on May 31.
Meanwhile, Kelantan’s newly-appointed head coach George Boateng was full of praise for his charges.
“It’s a Cup tie and real value for money. We started poorly but the boys showed character and fighting qualities to bounce back,” said Boateng.