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Monday August 26, 2013 MYT 4:27:00 PM
Monday August 26, 2013 MYT 4:29:20 PM
by loganath velloo
Kedah's Alen Guc (left) faces two Perak defenders during the Malaysia Cup match at the Darul Aman Stadium on Aug 24, 2013. – Bernama Photo
GEORGE TOWN: Kedah’s ability to wear down their opponents over 90 minutes has caught even their coach Datuk Ahmad Shafie by surprise.
In their two Malaysia Cup Group D matches so far, Kedah found the equaliser right at the death. On both occasions, it was Croatian striker Alen Guc’s finish from the penalty spot that earned the Canaries 2-2 and 1-1 draws against the more fancied Lions XII and Perak respectively.
“I am pleasantly surprised with our ability to step up the tempo late in the match and pressure the tiring opposition to commit mistakes in the penalty box. This is a welcome change because during our league campaign we had a tendency to lose focus and concede sloppy goals in the final 20 minutes of a match,” said Ahmad from Alor Setar Monday.
The veteran coach is also delighted with the Kedah players’ fighting spirit and feels his team have a good chance to progress to the next phase.
“When the draw first came out, nobody gave Kedah a ghost of a chance as we were ranked fourth in the group. But the first two rounds of the Malaysia Cup have produced some unpredictable results, and we are still unbeaten after playing the two Super League teams in Group D.
“But it is still early to make any bold predictions, and we need full points at home against Sarawak tomorrow to stay in the hunt for a quarter-final berth.”
Ahmad is wary of the threat posed by Sarawak, who are heading to Alor Setar on a high after defeating Super League champions Lions XII 2-1 in Kuching.
He picked out the Crocs’ playmaker Joseph Kallang Tie, who was on target against the Singaporeans last Saturday, as the biggest threat.
But Kedah can count on strong support from their home fans, who have turned out in great numbers at the Darulaman Stadium, to spur them on.
Added the Kedah coach: “Our fighting display during the draw in Singapore convinced the Kedah fans to throw their full support behind us during the home match against Perak last week. I expect another bumper crowd when we face Sarawak.
“There are no major injury worries in the squad. The biggest concern is the players’ recovery as this will be their third tough match over an eight-day period. Our main focus is just to get the players ready for action.”
The competition in Group D is wide open, with Perak leading with four points, followed by Sarawak (three), Kedah (two) and pre-tournament favourites Lions XII (one).
Tags / Keywords:
football, Malaysia Cup, Kedah, Alen Guc, Ahmad Shafie, Sarawak, Joseph Kallang Tie, Canaries
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