Kelantan draw blanks vs. PKNS, fall into MSL relegation zone
Kelantan will be hoping for a miracle on the final day of the Malaysia Super League (MSL) season after they slipped into the relegation zone following a goalless draw at home to PKNS FC on Wednesday night.
Sarawak moved above them on the table after coming from behind to beat 10-man Kedah 4-2 in Kuching.
The results mean that Kelantan will now need to beat Melaka United away in their final game on Oct. 28, and hope that Sarawak slip up at home to T-Team.<
The Crocs, who were trailing 2-0 to Kedah at half-time, turned on a sensational second-half performance to score four goals through Mateo Roskam (two), Shamie Iszuan and Hairol Mokhtar.
In Kota Bharu, Kelantan made a slow start against PKNS, despite being just one point above the drop zone.
Badhri Radzi was back to skipper the hosts and galvanise his team, who were playing at a half-capacity Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium.
But it was PKNS who should have taken the lead through Safee Sali after Daudsu Jamaluddin gifted the ball to the striker on the edge of the box.
Fortunately for Kelantan, Safee's snapshot was comfortably gathered by Khairul Fahmi Che Mat.
The Red Warriors continued to absorb more PKNS pressure, and they were let off the hook again in 25th minute after K. Gurusamy's long range lob rattled the crossbar.
Patrick "Ronaldinho" Wleh came close five minutes later, but Khairul produced a reflex save to keep the score goalless.
The national custodian came to Kelantan's rescue again just before the break, flying to his left to deny Safee's header that was destined for the bottom corner.
Kelantan improved after the break, but only got their first chance on 65 minutes. Danial Ashraf was denied just before pulling the trigger by the onrushing Tauffiq Ar Rasyid.
Alessandro Celin was brought on to give Zahasmi Ismail's side more bite in final 15 minutes.
The Brazilian-Italian forward immediately made an impact with a swerving shot that flew just wide before his knock down was lashed wide by Mamadou Danso from close range.
But PKNS ended the game strongly and should have scored an added-time winner through Gurusamy, who once again struck the woodwork.
Should Kelantan fail to get a result against Melaka, they and Penang will be replaced by Kuala Lumpur and Terengganu. The latter pair sealed promotion to the MSL with a game to spare in the Premier League.
Penang, who were relegated last week, fell 1-0 to Perak in Ipoh.
Other results saw Melaka United down Selangor 2-1, while Pahang confirmed second spot with a 1-0 away win to T-Team.
The final fixture of Round 21 will see Felda United host MSL champions Johor Darul Ta'zim at Shah Alam Stadium on Thursday. The match was scheduled for Wednesday in Jengka, but was rescheduled at the last minute, due to "unavoidable logistical" factors.
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.