Andrew Lee Tuck grabbed the headlines once again not with the goals this time but with the performance all over the pitch, and an assist for Hakim bin Mamat’s first goal
Malaysian Super League outfit Terengganu FC emerged as the new champion of the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup in their debut appearance after beating host Chittagong Abahani Limited 2-1 in the final at the jam-packed MA Aziz Stadium in the port city Thursday.
Andrew Lee Tuck grabbed the headlines once again not with the goals this time but with the performance all over the pitch, and an assist for Hakim bin Mamat’s first goal.
Mohammad Alias doubled the lead in the opening half before Luka Rotkovic pulled one back for the home side early in the second half.
It was better technical ability of the visiting players that made the difference between the two sides.
Terengganu converted the fewer chances they got while the port city outfit exhibited yet another misfiring show.
Maruful Haque kept his squad unchanged from their hard-fought win over Sree Gokulam Kerala FC, while Terengganu head coach Mohammad Zain made a couple of changes from the semi-final line-up, bringing in defender Azizi bin M Zabri and midfielder Alias in place of Hafizal Alias and Rahmat bin Makasuf respectively.
Montenegrin striker Rotkovic yet again looked unpromising in front of goal and it all started within a minute into the clock when he failed to connect a cross of Ivorian midfielder Didier Brossou from the middle of the box.
Rotkovic got another opportunity in the 12th minute after a long through pass by Nigerian winger Chinedu Mathew, set him up but the striker was tightly marked and could only shoot straight to the keeper despite getting some space.
Defender Mamat gave the visitor the breakthrough at the quarter-hour mark, heading home a pin-point corner by Tuck, the Englishman who netted a hat-trick in the previous two matches.
Alias, who was suspended in the last game, doubled the lead five minutes later with a clever finish.
Receiving a forward pass from Zuasyraf bin Zulkiefle, Alias fooled Uzbek defender Ikbol Jon at the left side of the box before placing the ball in between the legs of goalkeeper Mohammad Nehal.
The host, who were the champion of the inaugural edition in 2015, were forced to make an early substitution when national defender Rahmat Mia left the pitch injured and Mohammad Rockey replaced the fullback.
Rotkovic finally got into the score-sheet three minutes into the second half as the Montenegrin's shot from vantage point, following a Mathew cutback, hit the woodwork before it bounced beyond the goalline.
Maruful was forced to make another substitution before the hour mark as injured Didier was replaced by Mohammad Sohel Rana.
The home side looked a bit disorganized after the departure of Didier, who scored a brace in the semis.
The notable actions afterwards were Tuck trying a bullet attempt from just outside the box after a Bruno Suzuki backpass flew wide and Rotkovic firing over the crossbar following a cutback by Arifur Rahman.
Chittagong Abahani scripted fine comeback stories twice in the tournament, once against Young Elephants in the group stage and the second against Gokulam in the last four, but Terengganu were more solid at the back and midfield and resisted a few threats by the opponent attackers.
Another thing that didn’t go in favor of Maruful’s side was that they were forced to make two substitutions and couldn’t utilize the full advantage of fresh legs like they did before.