Goals from Shahurain Abu Samah (18th), Hairudin Omar (46th) and a Mohd Zaquan Adha penalty (59th) were enough to ensure the Deer notched their 11th straight win and maintained their perfect record in the competition.
Negri’s win, their first since 1948, also ended the dreams of the over 60,000 Kelantan fans who had braved the rain and floods back home to turn up for the final.
Kelantan’s search for a first major trophy in the Malaysian football scene continued after suffering their second Cup final defeat this year.
The Red warriors had also gone down on penalties to Selangor in the FA Cup final earlier this year.
For the 20,000-odd Negri fans in the stadium, victory was ample reward for making themselves heard and rallying steadfastly behind their team despite being vastly outnumbered.
Kelantan only have themselves to blame for conceding the opening goal after 18 minutes. Defender Zamri Ramli allowed the ball to slip away from his feet at the edge of his own penalty box.
The lurking Shahurain was quick to snap up the loose ball and shrugged off his marker before firing an unstoppable shot past Halim Napi into the top corner of the net.
But the tide turned after the opening goal, with Negri calling the shots and their defence holding firm throughout the match.
Kelantan’s veteran goalkeeper Halim was forced to make several vital saves for the remainder of the half, all of them efforts from striker Hairudin.
The Kelantan defence was caught napping again in the 22nd minute when they allowed Hairudin time to shoot at Halim’s near post. The keeper was up to the task not just to keep out the effort, but also a fine save to turn away a Hairudin header from the ensuing corner.
The Negri forward wasted two more chances to score before half-time, first firing straight at Halim from 20m out and then placing his close range header wide of the mark.
Kelantan coach B. Sathianathan made a double substitution at half-time, bringing on attackers Khalid Jamlus and Che Hishamuddin Hassan to boost the impotent strikeforce.
But it was Negri who took the lead straight from kick-off.
Hairudin got his bearings right when he beat the offside trap to meet Zaquan’s perfect lob with a weighted header that looped over Halim and into goal.
The match was over as a contest when Kelantan conceded a penalty just before the hour mark. Zamri hauled down Shahurain inside the box, and Zaquan made no mistake from the spot to seal Negri’s victory.
Despite having 30 minutes of play left, the Kelantan fans started heading for the exits. They also made their displeasure known by letting off firecrackers, throwing litter onto the track, tearing down their banners and setting fire to the plastic seats in the stadium.