GEORGE TOWN: An 89th-minute goal by Faizat Ghazli inspired Penang to a 1-0 win and condemn Terengganu to relegation from the Super League.
Up until Faizat’s goal at the City Stadium on Saturday night, the islanders were nervously staring at making a quick return to the second-tier Premier League.
Instead, it will be Police who will be accompanying Terengganu to next season’s Premier League after going down 2-1 to Sarawak in Kuching.
The Crocs came from behind to secure the win which secured their own safety in the top flight.
Police had shot ahead through Guilherme de Paula in the 26th minute. But Sarawak to hit back through Gilmar Filho (45th minute) and Nur Shamie Iszuan Amin (86th).
At the City Stadium, the more than 8,000 fans stormed onto the pitch at the final whistle to celebrate their top-flight status for 2017.
For 89 minutes, Terengganu goalkeeper Sharbinee Allawee led a charmed life despite continued bombardment from the Penang players.
It took the Harimau Muda connection to tear down the Turtles’ fortress, with substitute Muhammad Jafri Chew’s inch-perfect cross leaving Faizat with the simple task of tapping home from close range.
Penang should have taken the lead in the eighth minute when Sharbinee spilled a corner. But Ranti Martins and Mathias Cordoba got in each other’s way in their eagerness to knock the ball over the line from a metre out. Sharbinee got a glove to the ball right on the line.
The goalkeeper came to the Turtles’ rescue again four minutes later by diving low to his right to keep out Faiz Subri’s free-kick.
Penang coach Nenad Bacina replaced the ineffective Martins with youngster Jafri at half time. The move injected the much-needed pace into the Penang attack as they bombarded the Terengganu goalmouth.
Faiz had a volley cleared off the line in the 53rd minute and then blasted his shot high and wide when faced with a one-on-one situation with Sharbinee eight minutes from the end.
In the 64th minute, a clever through ball from Faiz set Jafri galloping down the middle. The substitute lured Sharbinee off his line but scooped his shot over the crossbar.
The Turtles had their chances to win the game too. A mishit back-pass by Penang’s Jeong Seok-min almost allowed Canadian Issey Nakajima Farran through on goal. Farran was again given another chance but he ballooned a volley minutes later when unmarked at the far post.
Terengganu coach Mustaffa Kamal threw on Montenegro forward Bogdan Milic into the fray for the final 15 minutes to take advantage of the tiring Penang players.
But it was Penang who got the crucial goal, and the last laugh.
Did you find this article insightful?