Kedah’s fear of potentially falling to a second consecutive defeat at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh was qualmed by Baddrol Bakthiar, whose second half stunner helped the Red Eagles seal a 1-1 draw against Mehmet Durakovic’s Perak side.
Tan Cheng Hoe and his men returned to Ipoh for the second time in five days, having played PKNP FC in the same stadium last Friday. They were determined to avoid another defeat, with Sandro and Liridon Krasniqi being thrown into the starting eleven, having recovered from their injuries.
But with pitch being in horrendous condition due to torrential rain, Kedah were restricted from playing with usual free-flowing football. Both sides carved out several chances in the first half but a mixture of poor finishing and good defending meant that the score remained 0-0 at the break.
The match tempo remained scrappy in the initial portion of the second half, but Hafiz Kamal’s deft goal on the 60th minute mark blew the game wide open. With Perak 1-0 ahead, the Red Eagles were at risk of potentially dropping further behind their title rivals; JDT and Pahang.
Thankfully for the travelling fans, Baddrol Bakthiar restored parity on the 70th minute, with a brilliantly executed free-kick from way outside the box. His strike left Hafizul Hakim – who had made several excellent saves on the night – completely helpless, as it rattled against the underside of the bar, before bouncing over the line.
Durakovic responded by bringing on Shahrul Saad to add a bit more stability into his midfield, and his final attempt at pushing for a home win came in the form of Vladislav Mirchev, who was surprisingly excluded from the starting eleven. His introduction on the 89th minute was unfortunately a little too late, as Kedah held on to secure a vital point away from home.