Melaka United FC advanced into the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Cup in style when they topped Group C after defeating Kedah Darul Aman (KDA) FC 2-0 at the Hang Jebat Stadium last night.
What makes the win sweeter for coach Zainal Abidin Hassan’s squad is that they are through to the knockout rounds with an unbeaten record, having only drawn once to accumulate 16 points, as well as the fact that it means they avoid meeting title favourites Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) in the last eight.
In last night’s action, midfielder Sony Norde proved to be a thorn to the visitors’ defence and it was his attempt in the 24th minute which led to Melaka’s opening goal.
Kedah goalkeeper Mohd Ifwat Chek Kassim could not hold on to Norde’s attempt and Manuel Ott was quickest to pounce on the loose ball and slot home Melaka’s first goal.
Although Kedah never gave up and tried to restore parity, Melaka confirmed victory when striker Giovane Gomes headed home goal number two in the 89th minute.
As group champions, Melaka will take on Group D runners-up Sabah FC in the quarter-finals after the Rhinos edged Petaling Jaya (PJ) City FC 1-0 at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu.
Skipper Risto Mitrevski was the hero for Sabah when he slotted home from the spot in the 21st minute after defender Park Taesu was brought down in the box.
Meanwhile, Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) ended Group D with a 100 per cent record after trouncing Kelantan FC 4-0 at the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium in Kota Bharu.
The Southern Tigers, however, had to wait until the 48th minute to draw first blood through striker Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad.
Leandro Velazquez then doubled their lead with a cooly taken spot kick in the 60th minute before Guilherme de Paula (62nd minute) and Shahrul Mohd Saad (injury time) chipped in with a goal apiece to complete the rout.
JDT, who have 18 points, top Group D and will meet Group C runners-up Kedah in the last eight.