ARIF GEM TAKES JDT TO MALAYSIA CUP SEMIS

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PETALING JAYA, Nov 19 – A stunning goal by 19-year-old Arif Aiman Hanafi sent defending champions Johor Darul Takzim to the Malaysia Cup semi-finals with a 1-0 win over Kedah FC in the return leg quarter-final at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Iskandar Puteri, Johor Bahru on Thursday.
The win enabled JDT to advance to the last four on a 1-0 aggregate after both teams drew 0-0 in the first leg in Alor Setar.
The young Arif made all the difference for star-studded JDT on a night when their foreign stars Gonzalo Cabrera, Bergson Da Silva, Guilherme De Paula and Leandro Velezquez failed to shine in front of their home fans.
However, Leandro set up Arif for the winner which came on 41 minutes. Arif coolly slotted home the ball with a rising shot that Kedah keeper Shahril Saari failed to keep out. Kedah, however, can thank Shahril for keeping the score line down with numerous saves.
The Southern Tigers will face East Coast hopefuls Terengganu in the two leg semi-finals with the first leg to be played at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Gong Badak, Kuala Terengganu on Monday.
Terengganu made the last four with a 4-2 win over Sarawak United at the UiTM FC Stadium in Shah Alam. The Turtles advanced on a 6-3 aggregate, having won the first-leg 2-1.
Two goals by Jordan Mintah (3, 63) and one each by Faisal Halim (11th) and Faiz Nasir (44th) fired Terengganu FC to a 4-2 win over gritty Sarawak United FC.
The Golden Hornbills did not give up despite the odds and scored two late goals through Sandro Mendonca and Uche Agba in the 79th and 89th minutes respectively.
It was the end of Selangor FC’s “Mission 34” when the former kingpins of Malaysian football bowed out on a 3-0 aggregate against Kuala Lumpur City FC.
The City Boys won the return leg at the KLFA Stadium in Cheras, with Colombian ace Romel Morales netting the winner in the 51st minutes for their 1-0. KL City won the first leg 2-0.
Selangor have won the Malaysia Cup for a record 33 times and the Red Giants were confident of regaining the prestigious silverware with their German DNA under head coach Karsten Neitzel.
Melaka United defeated Sabah FC 2-1 at the Hang Jebat Stadium to advance 3-1 on aggregate.
Brazilian Adriano Narcizo opened scoring after three minutes and Sony Norde added a second in the 78th minute. Sabah’s consolation goal came via a penalty converted by Risto Mitrovski deep in injury time.

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