A SPIRITED effort by Sungai Ara FC’s skipper Mohamed Alif Fadhil in the first minute of the four- minute injury time declared, turned out to be the golden moment for the home team.
That strike enabled Sungai Ara FC to wipe away the dream start that they had handed Selangor’s Megah Murni FC after their defender Syamil Masdokhi, in his haste to make a clearance, tucked the ball into his own net just two minutes into the game.
However, former Penang striker Merzagua Abdderrazak, who is now charting Sungai Ara FC’s football fortunes, could not hide his disappointment with the 1-1 draw at their mini stadium in Sungai Ara.
“Our target was an outright win over Megah Murni and I was extremely confident we could make it but for two unfortunate factors,” said Merzagua.
“While our first main problem was the own goal we had conceded so early in the game, our search for an equaliser worsened when the skies opened up and the field was waterlogged,” he said.
He said the moment when Syamil accidentally got the ball into his own net, it was like a bad omen because no matter how hard the Sungai Ara boys tried to put up a tight defence, it wasn’t working well at all.
To add insult to injury, Megah Murni FC nearly doubled their lead in the 22nd minute.
With both teams failing to make headway after a close call, it was not a surprise when Megah Murni trooped out with that slender lead at the breather.
Strong winds and a downpour during the half-time break, however, threatened to wash away the showdown.
Referee Mohd Afzarizam Mamat, who made a thorough inspection of the pitch, decided to restart the game only after a 15-minute delay.
Both teams, however, struggled to put their act together on the soggy pitch.
The Sungai Ara FC players who appeared to adapt better to the wet conditions, fully exploited the situation.
This saw them constantly putting the Megah Murni FC defence on red alert and had it not been for some good saves by former Penang goalkeeper Amir Omar Katta, Sungai Ara would have had its prayers for an equaliser answered.
With the game into the first minute of the four-minute time added, Sungai Ara FC’s skipper Mohamed Alif slide the ball past a sprawled Amir Omar to finally put them on the level.
Sungai Ara FC earned 11 points from three wins and two draws after six League outings.
Megah Murni and Sungai Ara are in third and fourth positions respectively.
Over at the City Stadium, the Penang Waterboys (PBAPP FC) bounced back when they edged Terengganu’s Hanelang FC by a solitary goal.
That one important strike, which came from their skipper Khairzul Azri in the 75th minute, was enough to earn PBAPP FC all three points and garner nine points from three wins after six outings.
It also enabled them to stay within striking distance of the leading pack in Group A leader Perlis (14 points), Real Mulia FC (12 points), Megah Murni FC (12 points) and Sungai Ara FC (11 points).
FIXTURES FOR SUNDAY
Group A: Hanelang FC vs Sungai Ara FC (Astaka Ground, Kuala Berang, 4.45pm); UKM FC vs PBAPP FC (UKM Stadium, Bangi, 4.45pm); Felcra FC vs Shahzan Muda FC (Universiti Malaya Sports Sains Stadium, 4.45pm); Real Mulia FC vs Perlis (Maybank Academy Ground, Bangi, 4.45pm); Prisons SC vs Megah Murni FC (Universiti Sains Islam Mini Stadium, 4.45pm).
Group B: Kedah Malays SC vs MISC-Mifa (Lada Stadium, Langkawi, 4.45pm); Airasia Allstars FC vs MOF FC (UPM Mini Stadium, Serdang, 4.45pm); Johor Darul Ta’Zaim III vs Harimau Muda C (UTM Stadium, Skudai, 4.45pm); Ipoh FA vs Malacca (Proton Stadium, Tanjong Malim, 4.45pm).