Ghad­dar brings re­lief for Ke­lan­tan

New Straits Times - - Sport -

UN­DER pres­sure Ke­lan­tan coach Za­hasmi Ismail shed tears of joy af­ter watch­ing his team end a run of three straight de­feats in the Su­per League with a 4-2 win over Perak thanks to Mo­hammed Ghad­dar’s hat-trick on Wed­nes­day.

Ke­lan­tan fans be­gan de­sert­ing the team af­ter three de­feats on the bounce — all in Kota Baru — with only 2,500 spec­ta­tors both­er­ing to turn out for their 2-0 de­feat to Se­lan­gor last week­end.

That is why an emo­tional Za­hasmi viewed the win in Ipoh as cru­cial to re­gain­ing fan sup­port and restor­ing con­fi­dence to the team fol­low­ing the wretched home run.

“I am very grate­ful to my play­ers for get­ting three very valu­able points,” he said af­ter the match at the Perak Sta­dium.

“We were given a huge fight by Perak but my play­ers fol­lowed in­struc­tions and we were suc­cess­ful in the end.”

Za­hasmi took a gam­ble by drop­ping goal­keeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat in favour of in­ex­pe­ri­enced Ra­mad­han Hamid while also re­vamp­ing the back line by restor­ing Norhafiz Za­mani Mis­bah, Far­isham Ismail and Zairul Fitri Ishak with cap­tain Badhri Radzi also com­ing back in.

In ac­knowl­edg­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of the changes, Za­hasmi said: “It’s nor­mal in foot­ball when you win that ev­ery de­ci­sion you make is the right one. On the other hand, when you are los­ing, every­thing you do is wrong.”

Ke­lan­tan’s win came de­spite Ghad­dar’s sec­ond goal be­ing scored from an off­side po­si­tion fol­low­ing a long pass by Badhri seven min­utes from the end when the score was still 1-1.

Vladislav Mirchev opened the scor­ing for Perak be­fore Ghad­dar equalised in the 38th minute. Af­ter mak­ing it 2-1, the Le­banon striker com­pleted his hat-trick from the spot and there was still time for Mirchev and In­dra Pu­tra Ma­hayud­din to trade goals near the end.

The de­feat left new Perak coach Mehmet Du­rakovic still search­ing for his first win af­ter two matches since re­plac­ing Karl-Heinz Weigang, hav­ing made just one change from their last match with cen­tre-back Shahrom Kalam com­ing in for Shahrul Saad.

“In the first half, we should have at least had three or four goals,” said Du­rakovic, whose team blew a 2-0 lead in draw­ing 2-2 with Felda last week­end.

“We tried to pres­sure, we tried to go for­ward and we got caught in the counter at­tack in the sec­ond half.

The win pushed Ke­lan­tan up to sixth in the stand­ing on nine points with Perak drop­ping to fifth on 11 points.

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