BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
PKNP FC produced the upset of the FA Cup second round when they knocked Kelantan out of the competition after a dramatic penalty shoot-out win at Stadium Perak. The Premier League outfit had taken a first half lead through G. Mugenthirran, only to be pegged back by Indra Putra Mahayuddin's effort in the second half.
Abu Bakar Fadzim started with a 4-4-2 formation with Gilberto Valdenesio partnering Mugenthirran up front and former Perak midfielder Ahmad Sukri in central midfield. As for Kelantan, Zahasmi Ismail opted to use his best players with Mohamad Ghaddar, Indra Putra, Alessandro Celin and Mohammad Qayyum all starting for the visitors.
PKNP started furiously and their high intense pressing caused many a problem to the Red Warriors. Neither their midfielders nor defenders were allowed any time to settle on the ball and this method was the architect of the opening goal of the night.
In the 10th minute, Sukri robbed Margoro Gomis in the centre of Kelantan's half and drove forward in a 3 v 2 situation in favour of PNKP. Sukri's attempted pass to Valdenesio was blocked but the ball fell into the path of Mugenthirran who produced a strong left footed grounder that flashed past Khairul Fahmi in goal for Kelantan.
PKNP kept up the pressure and could have extended their lead in the 34th minute when Vicent Lucas produced a good cross from a corner kick routine that found the head of the towering Valdinesio. The Brazilian's header to the bottom corner was good but Khairul Fahmi reacted quickly to smother the ball.
Kelantan escaped from going further down at the break when PKNP squandered a first half injury time breakaway chance. Shahrel Fikri had broken through Kelantan's offside trap but he failed to square the ball cleanly for the on-rushing Mugenthirran and Kelantan were able to clear.
Zahasmi's side improved after the break and had more possession than they had in the first half but still could not find a way past a stubborn PKNP defence. In the 56th minute, Zahasmi took out his left back in Aziz Ismail to put Farisham Ismail in. That move also saw the experienced Norhafiz Zamani moving into midfield to give the struggling pair of Gomis and Indra Putra some help.
It wasn't until the 62nd minute that Kelantan had their first shot on target. Again Qayyum producing the right cross that found Mamadou Danso but the latter's header was tipped over by Ahmad Asyraaf. In the subsequent corner kick, Qayyum again with the right delivery and this time, Indra Putra converted the chance with a firm downward header to level the score at 1-1.
The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of PKNP and it was Kelantan who were on the ascendency. In the 69th minute, Celin found space inside the penalty box but his low shot was well gethered by Asyraaf. The 27-year-old Celin would be left frustrated in the 86th minute when his shot did beat Asyraaf only to see it bounce away off the post.
There was to be further excitement as extra time lommed large when a quick PKNP break almost produced the winning goal. Shahrel beat Daudsu Jamaluddin in the 88th minute but his rasping shot was palmed away brilliantly by national custodian, Khairul Fahmi. That proved to be the last action of normal time as the game went into extra time.
In the first half of the extra time, PKNP found their second wind with substitute Devan Raj being the main driving force down the right wing. The home side's best effort came through goal scorer Mugenthirran but his header in the 103rd minute was just too straight at Khairul Fahmi.
There were still no goals in the second half of extra time but things got heated after several heavy challenges were put in by the away side. Celin in particular was lucky to escape a red card when he inexplicably launched himself too strongly at substitute Faizzwan Dorahim in an aerial challenge.
Ritus Krjauklis, Faizzwan, Valdenesio converted for PKNP while Celin, Danso, Indra Putra did likewise for Kelantan. Misses from Mugenthirran, Fahdli Idris (PKNP), Gomis and Ghaddar missed meant that the shoot-out went into sudden death.
Deevan scored the decisive goal before Asyraaf became the hero when he stopped Daudsu's spot kick to give PKNP a famous 4-3 penalty shoot-out win.