Kelantan 1 Negeri Sembilan 2

AYAM tambatan Kelantan, Norshaharul Idlan Talaha (kiri) diasak kapten Negeri Sembilan, Nurhafiz Zamani Misbah di Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil, malam tadi.

PENJAGA gol Kelantan, Khairul Fahmi Che Mat (kiri) dipaksa bekerja keras menyelamatkan cubaan gol dari pemain import Negeri Sembilan, malam tadi.

Butler akur kelibat Effa halang impian Red Warriors
Oleh Hussain Said dan Mohd Fitrie Muhamad

PENGENDALI Kelantan, Peter Butler mengakui kelibat penyerang import Negeri Sembilan, Jean Emmanuel Effa Owona menjadi antara faktor kekalahan pasukannya, 1-2 dalam aksi Piala Sultan Ahmad Shah, malam semalam.
Katanya, dia lihat kekuatan fizikal dimiliki pemain import dari Cameroon itu banyak mengucar-kacirkan benteng pertahanan Kelantan.
“Saya akui kelibat pemain itu membunuh pasukan Kelantan pada perlawanan ini. Nyata kelibat pemain nombor 10 (Effa) sukar dikawal.

“Barisan pertahanan kami terlalu kecil untuk mengawal pemain kuat seperti Effa,” katanya selepas tamat perlawanan di Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil, malam semalam.

Bagaimanapun, Butler menegaskan The Red Warriors memulakan permainan dengan baik dan berjaya mengawal rentak permainan.

“Kami bermain dan mengawal permainan dengan baik. Kami memiliki banyak peluang tapi kebanyakan peluang tidak dapat disempurnakan.
“Di sebalik kami mengawal permainan, dua kesilapan terus menghukum kami. Kesilapan itu terus membunuh peluang kami untuk menang malam ini (semalam),” katanya.

Negri Triumph 

NEGRI Sembilan finally completed their collection of titles in Malaysian football by edging Kelantan 2-1 in the Charity Shield at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Cameroon import Jean-Emmanuel Owona was Negri’s hero with a brace while midfielder-turn-defender G. Mahathevan and midfielder Abdul Halim Zainal were outstanding for Negri throughout the match.
Negri’s preparation for the season were in shambles following the departure of several core players   but coach Azraai Khor Abdullah managed to get the remainder along with several new signings to gel into a formidable group.
“A memorable but difficult game as we had to come back from a goal down against a strong team. We took advantage of the opportunities that came by to win the title,” said Azraai yesterday.
“It was not until last night that I finally decided on the line-up. We started without three regulars tonight (yesterday) but their replacements did very well.
“Owona made the difference as his height and strength and ability to control and shield the ball helped us plan our game. He also combined well with Ahmad Shakir (Ali).”
Azraai said his young players showed maturity by coming  from behind to beat Kelantan.
“I like developing young players and the ones that I relied on today  made me proud. It is never easy to beat Kelantan. My young players showed maturity and I hope they would continue to do so for the Super League,” he added.
As for Kelantan coach Peter Butler, he was disappointed with his team’s shaky back-line.
“I thought we dominated the match but were let down my two miserable mistakes. Owona was the only difference ... he made us pay for our mistakes,” said Butler.
Negri started the match without regular midfielders Shukor Adan and veteran Idris Karim,  out  due to injuries, which forced Azraai  to play Abdul Halim and Rashid Mamud.
Azraai also fielded  Mahathevan in the centre-back position, in replacement of Aidil Zafuan Radzak, who joined Premier League side Armed Forces, with Norhafiz Zamani Misbah, along with left back Tengku Qayyum Ubaidillah and right back Muzaki Abu Bakar.
The new Negri backline was a little shaky at the start as they struggled to contain Kelantan from creating opportunities but as the match progressed they did well with their combination.
It was the reigning Malaysia Cup champions, who tested Kelantan’s back-line first from a corner kick in the ninth minute.  
Cameroon’s towering striker Owona rose above the rest to meet S. Kunanlan’s corner but his looping header, which left national goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat stranded, was cleared off the line by defender Aziz Ismail.
Kelantan began to get their groove and from a quick inter-change of passes between Liberian international Mohamad Ghadar and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha saw the latter scoring from close range in the 20th minute.
Kelantan continued to dominate with Negri occasionally stringing some good moves to trouble the east coast side.
Negri, however, levelled proceedings through Owona’s solo effort in the 30th minute. He intercepted a poor pass in the penalty box and then shrugged off a number of tackles before his shot took a deflection off Kelantan defender
Farisham Ismail and sailed past keeper Khairul Fahmi.
Both teams were in a fiery mood in the second half with Negri coming close in the 57th minute. A perfect cross from Kunanlan, upon receiving a pass from Owona, was met by Ahmad Shakir Ali, who glancing header deflected off the side post.
Owona again turned his magic with a close range header, off a cross from Tengku Qayyum to give Negri’s the lead in the 63rd minute.
Kelantan pressed hard in the closing stages but Negri held them off to claim the title.
Kelantan 1 Negeri Sembilan 2 Kelantan 1 Negeri Sembilan 2 Reviewed by Maaf Sebut on Januari 07, 2012 Rating: 5

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