SHAH ALAM: Kedah won the FA Cup for a fourth time, and their first in nine years, after beating 10-man Pahang 3-2 in the final at the Shah Alam Stadium tonight.
Goals by Ken Ilso and Baddrol Bakhtiar, either side of a red card for Pahang's Kiko Insa, put Kedah in control but Heo Jae-won's strike just before half-time halved their advantage.
Baddrol seemingly put Kedah on the road to victory after scoring again in the second half, only for Mohamadou Sumareh to pull one back for Pahang with 10 minutes remaining and set up a nervy finale.
The triumph ensured Kedah, who last won the FA Cup in 2009, continued their recent trophy run by adding the FA Cup to the Malaysia Cup title last year and the Premier League crown in 2015.
Kedah kept faith with the XI which won the semi-final second leg 3-0 against Terengganu while defender Zachary Anderson, recently recovered from a hip injury, was not risked and omitted altogether.
Pahang made just one change, with Argentine midfielder Romero making his debut as Nor Azam Azih dropped to the bench.
After a battle of atrition in the opening 20 minutes where both teams sought to control the midfield area, it was Kedah who got the breakthrough with a nicely worked goal.
Breaking down the left, Syazwan Zainon exchanged passes with Sandro Mendonca before delivering a cross which the onrushing Ilso chested past Pahang goalkeeper Wan Azraie Wan Teh to become the outright top scorer with five goals in the tournament this year.
Mendonca almost doubled Kedah's lead shortly after when his attempt from the edge of the box skimmed the top of the crossbar.
Pahang were reduced to 10 men in the 32nd minute when Insa, the Spain-born naturalised midfielder, was dismisssed after picking up two bookings in the space of seven minutes.
Kedah went two-up in the first minute of stoppage-time as Baddrol drove in low at the near post when Syazwan squeezed the ball across the box.
But just before the half-time whistle, Heo threw Pahang a lifeline when his shot from the top of the box deflected off Mendonca and looped over backpedalling goalkeeper Ifwat Akmal Chek Kassim.
Pahang emerged after the break with renewed vigour and quickly forced Kedah defender Khairul Helmi Johari into a clearance off the goal-line.
Kedah survived a few scares as Pahang employed a high press to pin Kedah back as Matheus Alves had a good claim for a penalty waved away by referee Nagor Amir Noor Mohamed.
However, in one of their rare attacks in the second half, Kedah made it 3-1 when Baddrol tapped into an unguarded net in the 73rd minute after Wan Azraie failed to reach Ilso's cross.
Sumareh's towering header from Romero's cross cut the deficit again for Pahang to set up a nervous final few minutes for Kedah.
KEDAH: Ifwat Akmal Chek Kassim; Rizal Ghazali, Khairul Helmi Johari, Syawal Nordin, Fitri Omar; Akram Mahinan, Liridon Krasniqi, Baddrol Bakhtiar (Ahmad Fakri Saarani, 90th), Syazwan Zainon (Syafiq Ahmad, 72nd), Ken Ilso (Syazwan Tajudin, 85th), Sandro Mendonca.
PAHANG: Wan Azraie Wan Teh; Matthew Davies, Muslim Ahmad, Heo Jae-won, Faisal Rosli; Kiko Insa, Ahmad Syamim Yahya (Nor Azam Azih, 86th), Mohamadou Sumareh, Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria (Ashari Samsudin, 79th), Yamil Romero, Mathieus Alves.