| Fadhil Yunus |
AL IDRUS FT principal striker Muhammad Nadzrin bin Abdullah claimed an impressive five-goal haul to help his team reach the semi-finals of the Al Idrus FA Cup after a 6-2 drubbing of TJ FT at the Sungai Kebun Sports Complex yesterday.
On paper, Al Idrus entered the tie as overwhelmingly huge favourites after their recent history with the opposition when they hit five in the league competition earlier this season.
The cup tournament favourites appeared to be susceptible on exposing spaces at the back as TJ sprayed the ball forward twice in a matter of minutes, but there were no meaningful threats.
Al Idrus were awarded a free kick after their opponents were penalised for a rough challenge on Ishak bin Ibrahim as Haji Norazme bin Pehin Dato Haji Abdul Razak hoisted the ball into the box. Nadzrin emerged with a header but there was no apparent threat with the attempt.
The identity of the first scorer of the game came as little surprise as who else but Nadzrin who rounded TJ starting goalkeeper Samsani bin Haji Paie and slotted the ball into the empty net in the seventh minute.
The scoring assassin returned to haunt the TJ defence just three minutes later after drilling an unstoppable shot for his second of the game.
The crossbar came to the rescue of the TJ defence after it was slammed by a header from a corner while sharper alertness in the box from a similar delivery would have spelled danger.
Nevertheless, TJ had been promising in the final third despite a familiar setback and one of their attacks was finally met with success. There was a sequence of tidy passes before they eventually unlocked the defence. Jefri bin Haji Sulaiman played a neat exchange with a teammate before providing a cool finish at the end of the swift move.
But their hard work stalled the moment a penalty was conceded. Al Idrus captain Haji Hassan bin Haji Damit purposefully raced into the box and was brought down by a TJ defender. Nadzrin completed his hat-trick with the penalty and the momentum swung in their favour.
Ishak switched to the other side of the pitch and the flag was not raised as Nadrzin continued his run on goal while the TJ defence stood still. By the time they gave chase to the striker, Nadzrin already had the goalkeeper in his radar and picked his spot for his fourth goal.
TJ was forced to make a substitution in goal with Samsani being replaced by Abdul Nazim bin Haji Mohd Salleh.
The goalkeeping substitute appeared to have a routinely under-hit cross from Haji Norazme’s cross covered but somehow the ball slipped within his grasps. Thereon, Nadzrin’s improvised attempt to toe poke the ball home failed to materialise into a goal though he could afford to miss any of these invitations.
Haji Norazme had been busy supplying a number of crosses and could be excused of having a go himself, which just cleared the bar.
TJ would feel that they were not out of the encounter yet as on the other end after a player’s effort whistled over the bar.
Hopes of clawing their way back into the game disappeared after Haji Norazme belted a stunner outside the box past the outstretched arms of standby goalkeeper Abdul Nazim. He nearly turned provider when substitute Hairoddin bin Abdullah nodded his cross into the crossbar.
Nadzrin could easily have notched seven or eight in this game but a fifth did arrive in the 75th minute, and he is still in a league of his own when it comes to goals per game ratio.
TJ reserve goalkeeper Abdul Nazim’s place on the field was uncertain at best but a change of fortunes not only led to his unplanned introduction but also a goal after a collective team decision led to him taking a last-minute penalty.