KANGAR: Kedah capitalised on their advantage in numbers to tame a 10-man Perlis with a solitary goal in a Premier I match at the Stadium Utama here last night.
Perlis have only themselves to blame for the defeat. They squandered at least four sitters and to compound their woes, Adrien Jurad was sacked in the 68th minute for a double-footed tackle on Matar Diop.
And the diminutive Zainuddin Ariffin delivered the killer blow on the Northern Lions in the 87th minute, heading in a long cross from Manzoor Azwira.
It was the first time in three years that a match here drew a bumper crowd. Kedah had been out of the top flight for a long time and their return for a northern derby certainly attracted the attention of the fans.
Perlis had the league leadership to protect and they soon put the Kedah goal under siege. The home fans cried for an early goal and striker Phillimon Chepita almost obliged in the 11th minute, only to stab Adrien's cross over the bar.
Seven minutes later, it was Kelvin Musungu's turn to miss a sitter. Chepita shook off marker Thomas Abel and sent in a low cross but his fellow Zambian striker missed connection by a whisker.
Perlis endured the agony of another miss in the 30th minute. Chepita hit a volley past an advancing goalkeeper Mazlan Wahed but the ball was cleared off the line by Shariman Che Omar.
Kedah, who had been defending for most of the half, nearly broke the hearts of the homesters at the stroke of half time. Diop's header had goalkeeper Amran Omar well beaten but the woodwork stood in the way.
Perlis found themselves under real threats after central defender Adrien was sacked. And three minutes from time, Zainuddin found the winner for Kedah.
Khairuzal Zainuden put Kelantan in front mid way in the opening half but Telekom forced the equaliser a minute before the break through Nazzab Hidzan.
Telekom's dangerman Isaac Kuffour provided anxious moments for Kelantan in the 14th minute.
After latching onto a cross from. K. Krishnan, the Ghanaian eluded two defenders to unleash a fierce grounder but goalkeeper Shahrizam Ismail held well.
At the other end, Kelantan picked up their first corner in the 2st1 minute. A glorious inswinger by Khairuzal saw unmarked Hardi Ahmad dashing up to plant a goalward header. However, goalkeeper Mohamed Kamaruzaman pulled off a brilliant save.
Enterprising Kelantan looking more dangerous on the break opened account in the 23rd minute. Off a short pass from Hardi in Malacca's midfield, Khairuzal worked past two defenders to rifle a dipping shot past Telekom's goalkeeper Kamaruzaman.
Telekom came on strong in the closing stages of the half forcing five corners and three free kicks. Dividends were finally reaped a minute before half time when Nazzab Hidzan punished an untidy Kelantan defence beating Shahrizam from close range for Telekom's equaliser.