Terengganu defeated Perak 4-2 in a Group B match of the revived Tun razak Cup tournament at the MPMBB Stadium in Bukit Serindit Malacca this evening.
Two early goals took the fight out of the silver state and raised questions over their ability to make the semi finals.
Terengganu were in their element, using the flanks to open up the Perak defence And it paid dividends as Mohd Syafiq Nordin scored in the 21st minute. Barely three minutes later the East Coast side doubled their advantage as Ahmad Alif Nazaruddin Al-Nadhri scored.
With national players Faisal Saari, his younger sibling Fitri, Mohd Shahrun Nabil and Mohd Firhan Ashaari stringing some delightful passes, it was only a matter of time before Terengganu scored again. And the third goal came in the 51st minute as Fitri found the mark.
Perak reduced the deficit through Amir Farid Ahmad Puzi scored in the 54th minute but the fightback was snuffed when Firhan scored Terengganu's fourth goal in the 65th minute. Tajol Rosli Mohammad, who was in the centre of a dispute between Peang,Perak and KL, scored the second for Perak in the 70th minute but it was a case of a little to late for Perak.
"We did not play well at all and all credit goes to our opponents who took their chances well. It will be tough against Malacca tomorrow but it is a match that we have to win in order to have a chance to make the last four," said Perak coach Manjit Singh.
Perak have experience on their side as players like Azlan and Azli Misron, Roslan Jamaluddin, Tajol, S. Bubalan, Mohd Shukri Mutalib and Hafifhafiz Hanafi can change the course of a match with their ability. But getting them to play as a unit is something that Manjit has to do.
Meanwhile defending champions KL were given a rude awakening as Penang scored the first goal but failed to match the superiority of the city side as KL won 6-3.
It was a poor performance by KL, who had five national players in their ranks while Penang had four. But none of the nine players showed that they were a class above the other 12 players on the pitch at any given time.
Penang shocked KL as they scored in the 26th minute through Izwan Firdaus Tajuddin. However that goal jolted the defending champions out of their slumber and they drew level in the next minute when Mohd Ramadan Rosli scored.
Two goals by Mohd Amin Rahim and Kevinder Singh, in the 31st and 33rd minutes respectively gave KL a 3-1 lead but Penang reduced the deficit on the stroke of halftime through Izwan.
KL upped the tempo in the second half as Nor Izzat Sumantri (40th minute) and Amin (55th minute) made it 5-2. But Penang reduced the deficit through Azreen Rizal Nasir in the 59th minute. But KL had the final say when Mohd Hafiz Zakaria scored 10 minutes before time.
"We were slow in the opening 30 minutes as it was our first match as a team. But the win is what mattered and opening games can be difficult," said KL coach I. Vikneswaran.
"We hope for a more improved performance in our match against Johor. And we cannot read much into Johor's defeat against ATM as they will fight for their survival."
For Penang, the defeat, though a bitter pill to swallow, was not something that would worry their coach Bob Rajendran. For the wily Bob looked at the defeat as a learning experience for his charges.
"We lost out on experience as the KL side knew just when to change the tempo of the match. If they can sustain the performance in the next two matches, things will look good for us," said Bob.