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Monday September 2, 2013 MYT 4:05:00 PM
Monday September 2, 2013 MYT 4:07:35 PM
by loganath velloo
Indra Putra Mahayuddin scored one of Kelantan's goals against Negri Sembilan on Saturday, ending his goalscoring drought.
GEORGE TOWN: Defending champions Kelantan believe they are good enough to qualify for the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals despite dropping to third in the Group C standings.
The shock 2-3 defeat to Negri Sembilan in Kota Baru on Saturday caused the Red Warriors to slip out of the top two positions in the group standings for the first time.
But Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak is not sounding the alarm yet.
“There is no need to panic because the defeat against Negri Sembilan was on one of those days when things did not go right for us. Kelantan had 18 shots on goal but only scored twice while Negri converted three of their six chances. Our defence had conceded two goals in the previous 10 matches before letting in three in one night against Negri,” said Hodak.
“We created plenty of chances but the finishing was a letdown. The only bright note in the match was that my strikers Indra (Putra Mahayuddin) and Ahmad Fakri (Saarani) both ended their goalscoring drought. I hope their strikes will help boost their confidence for the coming matches.”
Indra and Ahmad Fakri had put the Red Warriors 2-1 ahead midway through the second half before a late brace from Brazilian hitman Fabio Barbosa allowed the Deer to inflict a first defeat in 10 matches in all competitions for Kelantan.
The contest in Group C is now wide open after Negri’s stunner and Terengganu’s upset 2-1 win over leaders Pahang in Kuala Terengganu.
Negri are the new group leaders on seven points, ahead of Pahang (five), Kelantan (five) and Terengganu (four).
“When the Malaysia Cup draw was made, I commented that Group C was going to be a close contest.
“All the four teams have a chance to progress but I am confident that Kelantan will pull through,” added the Croatian.
The Kelantan coach also described the Malaysia Cup two-week break to accomodate the national team’s assignments as a boon to Kelantan.
“We have played four tough matches over the past fortnight. The players deserve a rest, and the break will also allow Dickson (Nwakaeme) and Azizi (Mat Rose) to recover from their minor injuries.”
Kelantan, the 2012 treble winners, were unsuccessful in the defence of their Super League title but managed to hold on to the FA Cup trophy. They are one of the favourites to capture the Malaysia Cup this year.
The Red Warriors will wrap up their Group C fixtures with an away game against Terengganu (Sept 17) and a home tie against Pahang four days later.
Tags / Keywords:
football, Malaysia Cup, Kelantan, Red Giants, Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Bojan Hodak, Ahmad Fakri Saarani, Negri Sembilan
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