KUANTAN: Melaka put an end to Perak's impressive run in the Under-15 Malaysian Schools Football Championships (MSSM) final by beating them in a penalty shoot-out at the Kuantan Municipal Council field today to win their second title in three years.
The match went into penalties after regulation and extra time ended with both teams failing to find the back of the net before Melaka won 4-1 with goalkeeper Izzul Azry Abu Mansor, emerging as the hero in the shoot-out.
Izzul Azry guessed right and palmed away Perak skipper B. Dinesh's opening penalty and made another save to deny Hafizy Daniel Mohamad Termizi from the spot before Perak scored through Ikfan Mohd Rozi while Haziq Irfan Rostam, Shaharul Hanafi Md Suhaimi, Amir Ariffin Zulkifli and Arif Hafiz Mohd Farid were all on target for Melaka.
Melaka coach Muhamad Iqbal Ismail, whose team finished third in last year's edition, described the match as closely contested as both teams created plenty of chances and had opportunities to score.
"Perak was a different side compared to the team which we beat 2-0 in the group stages and were better organised today. Maybe we were better prepared for penalties today after beating Johor also on penalties in the quarter finals.
"I decided to field the same team which played against Johor and choose the same five players to take the spot kicks.....they did not disappoint me and the rest of their teammates," he said, adding Melaka last emerged as champions in 2015 when the competition was held in Pasir Gudang, Johor.
Despite the defeat, Perak coach Mohd Husaini Mokhtar was all praise for his players saying they had put a strong performance but luck was not on their side.
"Losing on penalties is always tough but the boys have put a lot of hardwork and effort to get the team into the final.
"I believe this is the best performance by the state Under-15 team in recent years and there are several promising young talents in the team who will be available for the state Under-18 team in the future," he said.
Under-15 - Final - Melaka 0 vs Perak 0 (Melaka won 4-1 on penalties)
Under-12 - Final - Kedah 2 Perak 0