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Negeri Sembilan 4-1 Pulau Pinang: Tuck hat-trick takes the Deers to FA Cup quarter-finals logo 11-03-2017

BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter

Negeri Sembilan defeated Pulau Pinang 4-1 in their third round FA Cup match at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium on Saturday. Nigel Dabingyaba cancelled out Marko Simic's opener in the full 90 minutes, but Lee Tuck's hattrick in the second half of extra-time took Negeri Sembilan to the quarter-final stage.

The match pitted two sides that are side-by-side in the Malaysian football pyramid.

The head coach of Negeri, currently the leaders of the Premier League, Asri Ninggal fielded all four of his foreigners, including topscorer Bruno Suzuki.

The visitors, currently struggling at the bottom of the Super League, started with only three of their foreigners; Dabingyaba the lone striker in the match, Andrew Russell and Reinaldo Lobo. Faiz Subri, S. Kumaahran, Faizat Ghazali and Syamer Abba were in midfield, while former Negeri custodian Syed Adney Syed Hussein was handed a start by Panthers boss Ashley Westwood.

In the 17th minute, Papua New Guinea international Dabingyaba could have given the visitors the lead, when he was fed a through ball by a teammate, but he failed to beat Negeri goalkeeper Kaharuddin.

In the 24th minute Suzuki tried a snapshot from outside the Pulau Pinang box, but it ended on the wrong side of the post.

In the 32nd minute Lee Tuck squared a teasing ball from the right, but his teammates in the box could get nowhere near the cross to connect with it.

Three minutes later another cross from the right got between the legs of Pulau Pinang defenders and was received by Suzuki in the penalty area, but he was not alert enough to finish off the chance.

The story of the first half was a cracking match with end to end attacks, helped somewhat by both sides committing mistakes in their own half.

In the 38th minute Suzuki struck from outside, but his shot was deflected just over the bar by a defender.

Four minutes from halftime, Faiz tried following a corner kick, but it was blocked on the goal line by a defender.

The first goal finally came moments before the halftime whistle, with the Deers punishing the Panthers defenders' lapse in concentration. Croatian attacker Simic, who had been quiet up to this point in the match, received a pass just outside the visitors' penalty area, and struck the ball into the far corner, past the grasp of Adney.

Pulau Pinang could have equalised almost immediately, but Syamer's header following a freekick sailed over the bar.

Fortunately, they managed to find the equaliser just two minutes into the second half, with the homeside this time losing their focus. A freekick was not dealt with convincingly by Kaharuddin, and it fell to Lobo in the penalty area, who smashed it in easily.

Minutes later Suzuki crumpled under a defender's challenge in the Pulau Pinang box and shouted for a penalty, but the referee Zulkifli Ahmad waved play on.

In the 65th minute Simic connected first time with a low cross from the right, but his attempt went straight to Adney.

Having been under a barrage of attacks by the Deers, in the final 15 minutes the Panthers rightly tried dictating the tempo of the match, slowing it down by passing the ball around and asking for treatments.

Seven minutes from the end of fulltime, Khairul Anwar Shahrudin tried chipping Adney with a no-look attempt, but his try did not drop behind the goalline and went out.

At the end of 90 minutes, the scoreline was tied at 1-1, neccessitating 30 minutes of extra-time.

A mistake by K. Reuben gave the ball away to Suzuki in Pulau Pinang's half, and the Japanese fed the ball to Tuck, with the Englishman left with Adney to beat. However the goalkeeper produced a fine stop to deny his former club the winning goal.

But it finally arrived one minute into the extra-time second half. A powerful low shot by Tuck from outside the box was deflected into the goal by a Pulau Pinang defender.

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Tuck added his second in the 112th minute. Receiving a short cross from the right by Suzuki, he turned with the ball and smashed it in to the left.

He then completed his hattrick near the end, with Suzuki again turning provider.

The match ended in a 4-1 win to the second division side.

With the win, the hosts advanced to the quarter-finals, while the visitors extended their poor run this season.

Negeri Sembilan: Kaharuddin (GK), Tuck, Nasriq (C) (Shazlan 113'), Vidic, Fauzan (Arman 80'), Annas, Simic, Faizal (Izzudin 88'), Hazrul, Anwar, Suzuki.

Pulau Pinang: Adney, Lobo, Mafry (C), Russell, Syukur, Faiz (Kuong Yong 88'), Kumaahran (Shazalee 74'), Syamer (Azrul 99'), Faizat, Reuben, Dabingyaba.

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