NEGRI SEMBILAN Prisons not only created an upset but also dented Kuala Lumpur Real Mulia’s title ambitions in the FAM Cup competition.
NS Prisons, anchored at the bottom of the table, put up a gutsy display and overcame fancied KL Real Mulia 4-2 in a Group A match at the Maybank Sports Complex in Bangi.
It was a crucial match for KL Real Mulia. They had to collect maximum points to stay abreast with table toppers Perlis..
Surprisingly, KL Real Mulia, despite the return of regulars Mohammad Badrul Hisani Abdul Rahman and M. Yoganathan to the starting 11, were unable to match NS Prisons.
NS Prisons showed excellent resistance in the opening 10 minutes of the match. After weathering KL Real Mulia’s raids, NS Prisons scored in the eighth minute when Mohammad Ridzwan Abdul Halim fired a stinging shot past a rooted Real Mulia goalkeeper Mohamad Syamsuri Mohamad Mustafa.
The goal was an inspiration to NS Prisons. They scored again in the 33rd minute. This time it was Zulhelmy Jumai, who shot from the edge of the box.
With the score 2-0 and favouring NS Prisons, KL Real Mulia were desperate and they were rewarded in the dying minutes of the first half when Wan Mohamad Alif Wan Jasmi headed beyond NS Prisons goalkeeper Mohd Fakrudin Hussin.
The second half resumed with NS Prisons looking for goals. And they increased the lead to 3-1 in the 55th minute through a Mohamad Syawal Rudin Abdul Rahim goal.
KL Real Mulia were desperate and raided the NS Prisons goal. But it was NS Prisons who went 4-1 in the 63rd minute when Zulhelmy scored his second goal of the match.
KL Real Mulia reduced the deficit in the 89th minute when Mohamad Saufie Hamid scored.
NS Prisons team manager Nordin Mohamad was pleased with his players’ determined performance.
“The players performed exceptionally well. We have another three matches and would like to get a favourable result to avoid the bottom place in the table.
“This is our first season and we have certainly gained a lot experience. We would be well prepared next season,’’ said Nordin.
Table-toppers Perlis were held to a scoreless draw by Felcra. With KL Real Mulia losing, Perlis have taken a six point lead in the 10-team table. It will be an uphill task for second placed KL Real Mulia to unseat Perlis at the top.
Perlis, the only unbeaten team in the competition, have 38 points from 11 wins and five draws while KL Real Mulia have 32 points.
Incidentally Perlis will meet KL Real Mulia this aweekend. A draw will pave the way for Perlis to qualify for the final.
In Group B, Malacca strengthened their claim for a place in the final when they defeated Johor DT III at the Bandar Penawar Stadium in Kota Tinggi.
Following the win, Malacca, coached by former international Mat Zan Mat Aris, have 33 points from 10 wins, three draws and a defeat.
Malacca and Malaysian Indian Sports Council- Malaysian Indian Football Association (MISC-MIFA), who have 30 points, are involved in a two way battle for the top spot in Group B.
Malacca will meet Ipoh Football Association at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca on Saturday while MISC-MIFA will take on Kedah United at the DRB Hicom-Honda Stadium in Sungai Petani on Sunday.
MISC-MIFA team manager J. Dhinagaran said they were looking forward to collect maximum points against Kedah United.
“We are not concerned with Malacca. We must focus on our two remaining matches. We have to win and hope for the best.
Mathematically we are still in the race for the top spot. The players should take the two matches as a big challenge,’’ said Dhinagaran.
Group A: Megah Murni drew Sungai Ara FC 0-0; Hanelang FC bt PBAPP FC 3-1; UKM FC bt Shahzan Muda FC 3-1; KL Felcra FC drew Perlis 0-0; Negri Sembilan Prisons bt Real Mulia FC 4-2.
Group B: KL MOF FC bt Kedah United 4-1; Malacca bt Johor DT III 4-1; KL Young Fighters bt Ipoh Football Association 3-0.
Fixtures (kick off 4.45 pm unless stated)
Group B: Malacca vs Ipoh Football Association (Hang Jebat Stadium, Malacca – 8.45pm)
Group A: Perlis vs Kuala Lumpur Real Mulia FC (Tuanku Syed Putra Stadium, Kangar); Shahzan Muda FC vs Felcra FC (Darulmakmur Stadium, Kuantan); PBAPP FC vs UKM FC (City Stadium, Penang); Megah Murni vs Negri Sembilan Prisons (UPM Sports Complex, Serdang);
Group B: KL MOF FC vs Airasia Allstars (Inspen Stadium, Bangi – 8.45pm); MISC-MIFA vs Kedah United (DRB Hicom-Honda Stadium, Sungai Petani).
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