KUCHING: It was a match that Sarawak had to win to qualify for the FA Cup semi-finals.
But their opponent Felda United have to be credited for a fine performance in last night’s quarter-final second-leg clash.
Both teams had played to a scoreless draw last week. Based on the away goal rule, Felda only needed a draw in the second leg as long as the match was not scoreless.
Sarawak fans demonstrated their loyalty to pack the Stadium Negeri despite this being a week day encounter.
Alireza Abbasfard was given the nod as Sarawak’s lone striker up front. But the team missed the services of Zamri Morshdi, Milorad Janjus and Junior Eldstal.
Hairol Mokhtar, Mafry Balang, Ramesh Lai Ban Huat and Gabor Gyepes made up the back four.
Ronny Harun took on the defensive midfield role.
Felda United showed they meant business right from the start with their numerous attacks.
Joseph Kalang came close in the 9th minute with a long range shot.
In the 17th minute the Sarawak skipper conjured a superb solo effort from the middle of the park and dribbled past two Felda defenders.
This time he was not to be denied as he lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Mohd Farizal Harun.
In the 22nd minute Felda nearly found their equaliser after Sarawak goalie Sani Annuar failed to handle the ball cleanly.
But the equaliser did come 13 minutes later for both teams to troop out for the first half break with the score level at 1-1.
After the interval Felda continued to look dangerous with their quick counter attacks.
Akmal Rizal came in for Alireza in the 72nd minute.
The substitution looked like it could be the match winner when Akmal found the net after a corner kick. There were only 10 minutes left to play.
But it was not to be Sarawak’s night. Within minutes, Felda drew level again.
The full-time score at 2-2 meant the Crocs are out of the 2014 FA Cup while Felda United march on to the semi-finals.
Quarter-finals second leg
Kedah 0 – 2 Johor Darul Takzim
– JDT win 5-1 on aggregate
Selangor PKNS 3 – 3 Kelantan
– Kelantan win 6-5 on aggregate
Pahang 2 – 1 Police
– Pahang win 3-2 on aggregate
Sarawak 2 – 2 Felda United FC
– (Both teams tied 2-2 on aggregate, Felda advance based on away goals rule)
Johor Darul Takzim