Hijau Kuning victorious for only the second time in 10 games thanks to Baddrol Bakhtiar's stunning winner
Stellar performances from the excellent Baddrol Bakhtiar and Moroccan Abdul Elfatah Safi steered Kedah to a much needed win over Terengganu at the Darul Aman Stadium.
Kedah, playing without their head coach Wan Jamak Wan Hassan, finished the match with 10 men after Fauzi Nan got sent off in the 82nd minute.
Looking to start aggressively by winning a corner inside the first twenty seconds, the home side was dealt with an early blow when the visitors took the lead two minutes later. Muslim Ahmad leapt like the proverbial salmon to glance home an Ashaari Samsudin corner for his second goal in as many matches.
However, it failed to unsettle the home side who started to take control of the game and registered their first shot on target with a deflected Baddrol Bakhtiar half-volley in the 15th minute. Two minutes later, the home fans were celebrating an equalizer through Khyril Muhymeen Zambri, who stood in for the injured Vedran Gerc. Kedah captain Baddrol, whipped in a low cross from the left which was cleverly dummied by the onrushing Faizal Abu Bakar, leaving Khyril to stab the ball home.
With Elfatah pulling the strings in midfield, Kedah looked dangerous every time he got on the ball. The much-travelled midfielder combined well with Baddrol, who was stuck out on the left wing by caretaker coach, Radhi Mat Din.
In the 34th minute, Terengganu coach Peter Butler was forced into a substitution and a change of formation when Abdul Hadi Yahya injured his groin. Ismail Faruqi came on in his place and Terengganu reverted back to a two-man front line.
The formation change seemed to favor the home side as they almost scored their second goal seven minutes later, but Khyril missed a golden opportunity when he shot straight at the keeper after Baddrol put him through. Ashaari then shot from 20 yards, drawing a safe from the home goalkeeper, Hadi Hamid.
Terengganu started the second half livelier of the two sides but were almost caught out at the back when a quick Kedah breakaway resulted in a corner, from which Baddrol directly struck the bar.
Kedah then started to get in the ascendancy as Faizal headed a cross from Baddrol which beat the keeper but just missed the goal by a couple of inches. Ashaari looked the most dangerous for the visitors whenever they ventured forward with his tricky runs and could have put them in front with a clever scissors kick from Liberian Francis Forkey Doe’s cross.
As Kedah went in search of all three points, Radhi substituted defender Azmizi with striker Fiqkri Isa in the 66th minute and got an immediate return two minutes later when they went ahead with a wonderful left foot volley from Baddrol. The stunned visitors tried to get back into the game after the goal but failed to create anything of note except for a long range effort from Ismail Faruqi that flashed past Hadi’s right post in the 73rd minute.
Fauzi then got his marching orders from referee Denis Sayeng for a second bookable offence after clattering into Ismail. He got his first yellow in the 56th minute for breaking out too early from the defensive wall against a Terengganu free-kick. Kedah however, managed to see out the last eight minutes or so for all three points.
With their rivals Sabah and Felda United also notching up victories, Kedah remain 13th but will now travel to Shah Alam to take on Selangor on Tuesday feeling a little more confident.