PASIR GUDANG: Club sides Johor FC and Public Bank fought tooth and nail right up to the end before Johor FC had to concede a Super League place to the bankers in a most heartbreaking fashion.
Public Bank won the second leg playoff match 5-4 on sudden death penalties after the teams had finished 3-3 on aggregate and even the mandatory shootout ended in a 3-3 stalemate at the Pasir Gudang Football Stadium here last night.
The bankers had taken a 2-1 lead on the night to square the aggregate at 3-3, with two freekick goals by dead ball specialist Ivan Ziga, who was helped by some poor goalkeeping by Johor FC goalkeeper Mohd Sany Fahmi.
Zami Mohamed Noor had scored for Johor FC.
Extra time failed to produce a winner although the bankers had M. Elango sent off for a second bookable offence in the 113th minute.
Elango's marching orders summed up a night full of action which included a free for all three minutes before the end of normal time as players from both teams went for each other.
The free for all before the final whistle saw Perak referee R. Krishnan, who had poor game overall, surprisingly book only Zami.
Then came the shootout and heartbreak for the hosts.
At the Sarawak Stadium, the Crocs registered a 3-1 win over Selangor MPPJ in the second leg of the playoffs.
With the win, Sarawak booked a berth in next year's inaugural eight-team Super League on a 5-4 aggregate after they lost to the club side 2-3 in their first leg match.
Despite relentless attacks by the homesters, Selangor MPPJ opened accounts in the 15th minute through Bruno Sebastian Martelotto who hit the back of the net following a beautiful cross by ex-international Anuar Abu Bakar.
A minute later, Gilbert erased the club's slim lead when he rifled a low shot after a one-two with Robert Eshun.
Gilbert found the net again for Sarawak in the 44th minute.
In the second half, Sarawak regained their composure and controlled the midfield but the 2-1 scoreline remained until the end of regulation time.
In extra time, the visitors were down to 10 men after Yuszaiman Zahari was shown the red card following a sliding tackle against Bobby Chua and Sapian Wahed finally buried Selangor MPPJ's hopes in the 120th minute when he headed in a goal much to the delight of the 5,000-strong crowd.