PAHANG stole the thunder in Division One of the Razak Cup when they whipped silver medallists Perak 4-1 in their final Group B match at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca yesterday.
Coach Izwan Suhardi will now guide Pahang against Armed Forces in the semi-finals while Terengganu will meet Kuala Lumpur .
Pahang do not have any national players in their side, and only former international, Ismail Abu, powered them into the semi-finals by playing a sterling role in all three group matches. Perak, on the other hand, had plenty of national players but they were a jaded lot yesterday.
Ismail gave Pahang the lead from a brilliant solo run in the second minute to give his team a dream start. The other goals came from Hafiz Zainul (43rd), Ahmad Kazamirul (54th) and Aminuddin Abu (63rd). Former national skipper Azlan Misron scored Perak's consolation in the 57th minute.
"We were the underdogs, so I told the players to be more defensive and rely on counter-attacks, and they scored four," said Izwan.
In Division Two, Negri Sembilan kept their winning streak intact when they beat Sabah 6-4 in Group B and will play Perlis in the semi-finals. Perlis had lost to Selangor 3-1. In the other semi-final, Selangor will meet Kedah, who beat Sarawak 2-1 yesterday.
Negri, the early favourites in Division Two, feel they have a 50-50 chance of beating Perlis.
"We are a young side and only skipper Marhan Jalil and midfielder Madzli Ikmar are the two players with any experience so I fear inconsistency in the knockout stage," said Negri coach S. Chandran.
"Perlis, on the other hand, are a hardworking side and in Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, they have a reliable goal scorer and match winner."
Project 2017 ended last in Group A after their 3-2 defeat to Kelantan and will play Sarawak, the bottom placed team in Group B, for the seventh-eighth spot.
RESULTS -- Division One (Group A): Johor 1 Penang 4, Armed Forces 2 Kuala Lumpur 3; Group B: Pahang 4 Perak 1, Malacca 2 Terengganu 2; Division Two (Group A): Project 2017 2 Kelantan 3, Perlis 1 Selangor 3; Group B: Sarawak 1 Kedah 2, Sabah 4 Negri Sembilan 6.
TODAY -- S-finals: Division One: Pahang v Armed Forces (6pm; Pitch II), Kuala Lumpur v Terengganu (8pm, Pitch I); Division Two: Negri Sembilan v Perlis (5pm, Pitch II), Selangor v Kedah (4pm, Pitch I).