Hodak hails great win excellent: Kelantan coach says it was a fantastic team performance against LionsXII
THREE stunning goals by Kelantan to sink Singapore's LionsXII earned effusive praise from coach Bojan Hodak whose team now are just two points away from the Super League summit.
S. Chanturu, Norfarhan Muhammad and Rizal Fahmi Rosid's late goals gave Kelantan a 3-0 win which took them to two points of LionsXII with three games in hand.
Hodak, who had to make do without Mohammad Ghaddar as the Lebanese striker served a one-game ban, praised his team's effort and was taken aback by centre-back Rizal's wonder strike.
Rizal, who replaced Zamri Ramli at half-time, caught the ball sweetly from outside the box when Chanturu rolled it back for him as LionsXII goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Jumaat stood watching in awe.
That goal made it 3-0 after Chanturu had broken the deadlock with an acrobatic bicycle kick before Norfarhan's cool finish put the icing on a well-worked move.
"To be honest, all three goals were excellent. Rizal's especially was fantastic. The whole team played excellent. All three goals were great," said Hodak after the match.
"We gambled on playing shorter, faster players rather than tall ones to defend against LionsXII's set-pieces, and it worked."
Kelantan are now unbeaten in 12 matches since a 3-1 reverse in the AFC Cup at Myanmar's Ayeyawaddy United, who they host in their next match on Tuesday in Kota Baru where a draw would be enough to secure a place in the next round and top spot in Group H.
The future is looking rosy for Kelantan, with an FA Cup final against Sime Darby also on the horizon, as defender S. Subramaniam gears up for a clutch of games ahead.
"We have the right momentum going now, but there are still many games to go in the league, and we have to stay focussed in each match."
LionsXII coach V. Sundramoorthy admitted the defeat damaged the team's bid to go for the Super League title though they have not given up on it yet.
"Anything can happen although we have played three games more. We'll have to analyse our mistakes and move on from here. On current form, Kelantan will catch us, and it really depends on other teams now."
LionsXII will have a chance to extend their lead when they play Felda United at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca on Tuesday in yet another fixture brought forward to accommodate Singapore's AFC Under-22 Championship qualifying campaign in late June.