DEFENDING champions Terengganu, Kedah and Penang were made to slog yesterday to earn their places in the semi-finals of the football semi-finals.
Terengganu survived a penalty shoot-out, much to the relief of the home fans at the Sultan Ismail Stadium in Kuala Terengganu. They outgunned Johor 5-4 after extra time failed to resolve a goalless deadlock.
Kedah and Penang scored the winning goal in extra time to send Federal Territories and Perak packing respectively.
Kedah and FT were tied at 0-0 after regulation time in the match played at the Gong Badak Sports Complex. And national player Bunyamin Umar put Kedah through to the semi-finals with a goal in the 95th minute.
Kedah coach Mahamad Ramlee conceded that the match could have gone either way.
“We took our chance at the crucial moment and made it count when it mattered most,” said Mahamad, whose boys will be up against Terengganu tomorrow for a place in the final.
For Kedah, they will get the chance to avenge the defeat by Terengganu in a shoot-out in the final of the last Games at the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Star.
The hero for Penang was Mohd Zafran, who scored in the 112th minute to give his side a 3-2 victory over Perak at the Gong Badak Sports Complex.
Perak had taken the lead with a goal by Abdullah Kassim in the fifth minute. But Penang bounced back to score two quick goals through Mohd Hafiz Rahman and Mohd Failee Mohd in the 41st and 42nd minutes respectively.
Perak equalised with a goal by K. Thinagaran in the 56th minute .
Perlis completed the semi-final cast with a 2-0 win over Selangor. A penalty conversion by Mohd Hairy in the 72nd minute and another goal by Mohd Shazman in the 80th minute put Perlis through to the playoff for medals. They will take on Penang tomorrow for a place in the final.