KUCHING: Sarawak drew 1-1 with Malaysian Super League (MSL) pace-setter Kelantan in a pulsating match last night which saw the homesters nearly slay the Red Giants.
True to their top billing, the visitors were the aggressor as Sarawak were under siege for prolonged period.
The Crocs got a major scare in the 10th minute when an improbable shot by the visitors found the target.
Much to the relieved of the homesters, it was ruled out off-side.
Undeterred, the Crocs launched raids down the flanks in search of an early goal and their perseverance was justly rewarded.
In one of their attacks, new signing Joel Epalle was fouled in the 18th minute of play and the Crocs were given a free-kick with Bwele stepping-up to take it.
Stadium Negeri erupted with rapture when Bwele fired Sarawak into the lead from the resulting free-kick. His perfectly weighed shot from just outside the six-yard box breached the Kelantan wall and saw the ball flew beyond the groping fingers of the Kelantan’s custodian.
This was Bwele’s second goal off a free-kick in the MSL campaign and he now earned the bragging rights as the Crocs’ free-kick specialist.
Much to the agony of the Sarawak’s fans, Kelantan seems to step-up a gear in their forays for an equaliser. Fortunately for the Crocs, the visitors mostly chose to shoot on sight, instead of shoot on target.
Stout defending by the homesters preserved the precious lead as the scoreline remained at 1-0 when the referee blew for half-time.
After the breather, the Crocs picked up where they left off as they quickly set out to control the game with fast paced offence. The visitors were dangerous with their counter-attacks and set-pieces, a trademark which propelled them to the pinnacle of the MSL.
However, the inevitable came five minutes from regulation time when Mohd Norfahan restored parity with a wonder strike to deny Sarawak a famous win.
The match ended 1-1 despite the homesters fighting tooth and nail to slay the Red Giants in the second half. The Crocs legendary fighting spirit saw them earning three corners in the dying minutes which saw the visitors scrambling and resorting to ‘parking the bus’ in-front of their goalmouth.
The draw proves that the Crocs are a force to be reckoned with in the MSL and they are indeed capable of achieving greatness.
Prior to this match, the Crocs had defeated club-side Selangor PKNS 4-1 to register their biggest win and set the pace for their ascend in the MSL.