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Wednesday August 28, 2013 MYT 2:49:00 PM
Wednesday August 28, 2013 MYT 2:50:54 PM
by loganath velloo
GEORGE TOWN: Don’t write off Lions XII, warns Perak coach Mohd Azraai Khor. He believes the Singapore side still have a chance to progress from the Malaysia Cup Group D.
A day after witnessing his Seladangs eke out a narrow 1-0 win over the Singaporeans in Ipoh, Azraai cautioned that the Lions are capable of resurrecting their quarter-final hopes.
Both teams meet again on Saturday in the return leg, with V. Sundramoorthy’s men facing a do-or-die mission at their Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
At the halfway mark of the group phase, Perak are sitting pretty at the top of the four-team Group D with seven points, while the Super League champions Lions XII are at the bottom with just one point.
Sarawak and Kedah, who played out a goalless draw in Alor Setar, have four and three points respectively.
“I am happy that Perak won another three points at home. It was not easy, but the players displayed high spirits and a commitment to beat the Super League champions.
“We cannot write off Lions XII’s chances yet as there are still three matches to go. They have their backs to the wall and have no choice but to go all out against us on Saturday,” said Azraai.
The three-time Malaysia Cup winning coach is also unperturbed about playing on Lions XII’s artificial pitch.
“As fas as I am concerned, it is just another match for Perak. There is no artificial football pitch in Ipoh for us to train on, and I don’t want my players to waste time preparing on an artificial surface just for the sake of one match.
“Out mission on Saturday is not to return empty-handed. I will be happy if we can come back from Singapore with at least a draw.”
Azlan Ismail’s ninth minute close range strike, set up by the in-form Brazilian forward Paulo Rangel, was enough for the Seladangs to hold out for victory on Tuesday night.
Azraai was full of praise for his Brazilian striker, who also scored both goals in the 2-1 win over Sarawak last week.
“Perak’s fortunes have improved since we replaced (Frenchman Karem) Rouani with Rangel in April. He has proven to be a good buy. He not only scores goals, but also provides assists for his team-mates,” said the coach.
Azraai will have his full squad available for selection in Singapore, except for first choice rightback V. Thirumurugan, who is getting married on that day.
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football, Malaysia Cup, Lions XII, Perak, Mohd Azraai Khor
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