Interim coach Yusri Che Lah took Kelantan FA to their third win of the season over Kedah FA in the wake of Fajr Ibrahim’s absence.
Kelantan assistant head coach Yusri Che Lah commended the fighting spirit of his young side after Nik Azli Alias and Danial Ashraf Abdullah struck for a 2-1 win over Kedah FA in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) on Tuesday.
“I have to thank my players because we are really having a tough time during this Ramadhan period. We still have work to do, but this was a priceless win for us to try and stay in the MSL,” said Yusri.
The Red Warriors were without head coach Fajr Ibrahim, who had abandoned the team in the wake of the 4-0 loss to Selangor FA last Friday.
Fajr has gone missing and is believed to have headed back to Syria, after Kelantan had paid his salary.
Yusri was tasked to take charge for this game against a strong Kedah side, and after weathering constant Kedah pressure, turned the game on its head.
Two inspired second-half substitutions saw Nik Azli and Danial come off the bench to score in the space of four minutes to give Kelantan only their third win of the season.
They are still bottom of the league, but tied on points with Negeri Sembilan FA.
“Almost all my players are from the President Cup and I know our limitations in terms of quality. But the players defied that by giving it everything. We took the only two chances we had and got the win,” added Yusri.
“I also owe a big thanks to our goalkeeper Shahrizan (Ismail), who was one of the best players around. He had a knee injury two days ago, but was fired up for this match and made the difference.”
Shahrizan was Kelantan’s hero after he saved Sandro Da Silva’s penalty in stoppage time to give Yusri’s charges the win.
The 37-year-old has hardly played for Kelantan in recent seasons, only making one appearance last season.
But he was deployed after Kelantan young goalkeeper Fikri Che Soh proved to be an accident waiting to happen, and is now set to keep his place in the team.
Kelantan will return to the Darul Aman Stadium to play Kedah again on Friday.
The east coast side have been playing their home matches on the road during the Ramadhan month as their Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium is used for daily prayers during the holy month.