By Luqman Hakim
Kedah’s striker Mohd Fadzrul Danel was the man of the match when his team emerged champion in the 2019 FA Cup Final at Bukit Jalil Stadium, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, July 27. His solitary goal in the 105th minute sealed the fate of Perak who cherished hopes of repeating their 2018 success.
The victory, in front of 83,520 fans (both sides), shattered the Bos Gaurus’ dream as they last won the FA Cup in 2004.
The success of coach Aidil Sharin Sahak’s first eleven enabled Kedah to equal Selangor’s five-time championship victory record. Kedah won in 1996, 2007, 2008 and 2017.
The 30th FA Cup saw a spirited clash between two soccer giants from the North namely, Kedah and Perak. Both teams played their hearts out, determined to come out on top. The match had to go into extra time after the regulatory 90 minutes ended without a goal.
Japanese referee, Takuto Okabe, made history as the first foreign referee to handle a domestic match. Both teams played a cautious game before Perak began to make several attempts at Kedah’s goalpost.
Perak tried to break the deadlock with Brazilian import, Raianderson Da Costa leading the charge. His close-range left-foot shot in the 72nd minute sailed over the goalpost.
Perak dominated the game in the first half but Kedah took the pressure calmly.
Kedah found its rhythm halfway through the second half. Winger Muhammad Farhan Roslan’s shot almost made it but his volley was caught by Perak’s goalkeeper, Hafizul Hakim.
Perak missed several chances at goal when forwards Brendan Gan and Ronaldo Henrique Silva failed to capitalise on their many breakthroughs.
In spite of a player down during extra time, Perak gave a good account of itself. However, luck was not on their side. In the dying minutes, Rizal Ghazali squared the ball for Mohd Fadzrul to net the winning goal to put Kedah on top.