Perlis skipper Wan Zulhilmi Wan Mustafa (right) celebrates after scoring a goal against Sabah in their Sukma opening match on May 24, 2014.
KANGAR: Perlis skipper Wan Zulhilmi Wan Mustafa admits that nerves got the better of him as he came close to completing a hat-trick in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) football competition.
Zulhilmi failed to convert his third free-kick as the hosts thumped 10-man Sabah 3-0 in the Group A opener at the UiTM Stadium on Saturday.
Mohd Shukor Azmi had earlier converted a spotkick in the 23rd minute to give the hosts the lead before Zulhilmi hit a brace in the 53rd and 80th minutes from free-kicks to seal the full points over the defending champions.
The 20-year-old striker rifled his first free-kick to the top corner before drilling a low shot for his second goal but his third free-kick proved to be a disappointment after his attempt flew over the crossbar.
The fiery clash also saw referee Kamal Ahmad flashing the yellow card eight times, which also resulted in the sending off of Sabah’s skipper Rawilson Batuil in the 69th minute. In total, Sabah picked up five bookings and Perlis got three.
Zulhilmi, who has set a personal target of scoring more than five goals in the tournament, said that he was too nervous at the thought of scoring a hat-trick when he took his third free-kick.
“I scored from the last two free-kicks and I wanted to score the third badly but my mind was not focused and my kick ended up being a big disappointment,” said Zulhilmi after the match.
“It was great that we managed to get off to a bright start in the competition. Sabah were very physical and it was a hard match ... I’m glad we managed to get the full points.
“I always practise my free-kicks after training and this time my hard work paid off. I hope I can continue scoring to help the team reach the final.”
Perlis take on Pahang in their next Group A match at the UiTM Stadium on Monday.