BUKIT JALIL: The Elephants have done it again!
FA Cup champions Pahang achieved the grand double in style after retaining the Malaysia Cup crown with 10 men in front of a sell-out 100,000 fans at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday night.
The east coast side defeated Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) 5-3 in a penalty shootout after both teams were tied 2-2 after extra-time.
In the dramatic shootout, JDT striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha’s fourth kick was saved by Pahang custodian Mohd Khairul Azhan.
Hafiz Kamal then scored the last kick to give Pahang the win.
Pahang’s other scorers in the shootout were Razman Roslan, Damion Stewart, Shahrizan Salleh and Zesh Rehman. JDT’s scorers were Luciano Figueroa, Jorge Diaz and Hariss Harun.
In regulation time, the ‘Tank’ Dickson Nwakaeme starred with a brace – scoring in the 15th and 70th minutes – while JDT replied through Diaz (30th) and Figueroa (31st pen).
Pahang went down to 10 men when Mohd Saiful Nizam was sent off for an off-the-ball infringement on Amri Yahyah in the 68th minute.
JDT have now failed to beat Pahang in five meetings this season. Pahang have won three times while the other two clashes ended in draws.
The Pahang attack, led by Nwakaeme, Argentine Matias Conti and fleet-footed R. Gopinathan, were a menace to the JDT defence.
Nwakaeme, who scored the winner against Felda United (2-1) in the FA Cup final earlier this season, sent Pahang’s fans into a frenzy with the opening goal after just a quarter of an hour – punishing the ball-watching JDT defence by nodding in Azidan Saruddin’s freekick.
But JDT’s Latin strike force of Diaz and Figueroa hit back with a vengeance – scoring two quick goals at the half-hour mark.
Diaz scored off a neat set-piece from a corner kick in the 30th minute before Figueroa put JDT ahead by converting a penalty a minute later after Pahang skipper Razman handled the ball inside the box.
Pahang, already trailing 2-1, suffered another blow when defender Mohd Saiful was red-carded in the 68th minute.
It didn’t matter, however, as just two minutes later Dickson put the finishing touch to an elaborate string of passes among Hafiz, Conti and Stewart.
JDT could have sealed the game in regulation time but Figueroa and Diaz hit the woodwork, taking the game into extra time and then the shootout.