Aidil leads Kedah to Malaysian FA Cup victory
Kedah FA, led by Singaporean coach Aidil Sharin, clinched the Malaysian FA Cup on Saturday, after a 1-0 extra-time victory over Perak at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
Substitute Fadzrul Danel Nizam fired in the winner in the 105th minute to overcome Perak, the reigning Malaysia Cup champions, sending Kedah's yellow-and-green brigade of supporters into a frenzy.
Both sides had their chances in regulation time, keeping the 83,520-strong crowd on the edge of their seats, but neither team were able to convert.
Kedah were handed a numerical advantage at the end of regulation time, when Perak's right-back Amirul Azhan Aznan was sent off for a second bookable offence by Japanese referee Okabe Takuto.
That edge finally translated into a Kedah goal in the 105th minute, when right-back Rizal Ghazali surged down the flank in a quick counter-attack and squared the ball into the box for the 21-year-old Fadzrul to tap it in past goalkeeper Hafizul Hakim.
Kedah then held Perak at bay for the remaining 15 minutes to reclaim the trophy they last won in 2017.
The triumph comes extra sweet for Aidil, who joined Kedah only this season, after leading Home United to the Asean title of the AFC Cup last year.
Earlier this season, the 42-year-old led Kedah to a fourth-placed finish in the 12-team Malaysian Super League (MSL), improving on their sixth placing last season.
This is also the first time a Singaporean coach has tasted success in Malaysian football since Fandi Ahmad led the now-defunct LionsXII to the same title in 2015.
It also means that there is a Singaporean presence in both trophy-winning sides of Malaysian football this season, with midfield maestro Hariss Harun leading Johor Darul Ta'zim to their sixth consecutive MSL title and defender Shakir Hamzah playing an instrumental role to help Kedah lift the FA Cup.
With the victory, Kedah have also secured a place in the second qualifying round of the AFC Champions League.
Next up for them is the Malaysia Cup, in which they are grouped with Terengganu, PKNS FC and Negeri Sembilan.
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