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Thursday September 19, 2013 MYT 5:06:00 PM
Thursday September 19, 2013 MYT 5:08:37 PM
by loganath velloo
Perak's M. Sivakumar tries to get the ball past Kedah captain Baddrol Bakhtiar (right) in their Malaysia Cup match which Kedah won 1-0. – Bernama Photo
GEORGE TOWN: In the Malaysia Cup draw, Kedah were the lowest ranked among the 16 teams and Lions XII were the top seeds.
But Kedah coach Datuk Ahmad Shafie feels the rankings can be thrown out the window when the two teams meet in their final Group D match in Alor Setar on Saturday.
Kedah have torn the form book to shreds with their never-say-die attitude, and possibility of qualifying for the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals at the expense of the Super League champions.
“It is unbelievable that we are still in contention for a spot in the quarters. Prior to the tournament, nobody gave Kedah a ghost of a chance to progress against the likes of Lions XII, Perak and Sarawak.
“But we have proven them wrong by rising to the occasion,” said Ahmad Shafie.
The Canaries have built a reputation as the comeback kings in the Malaysia Cup.
Their last eight hopes had been in tatters following the 0-4 hammering by Sarawak in Kuching prior to the two-week break.
But Kedah bounced back in style to inflict Perak’s first Malaysia Cup home defeat in a 1-0 win on Tuesday, courtesy of Chilean midfielder Nelson Martin’s strike during injury time in the last minute of the game.
It was the third time in five Malaysia Cup matches that the Canaries scored right at the death.
“Once again, we maintained our focus until the final whistle and were rewarded with yet another late goal,” said Ahmad Shafie.
“The boys refused to throw in the towel after the 0-4 setback against Sarawak and worked hard in training over the past two weeks. Their positive attitude has paid off with a win over Perak. Now, we just need another super performance on Saturday to qualify for the last eight.”
While Lions XII, coached by Kedah old boy V. Sundramoorthy, only need a draw to progress, the northern state have no choice but to go all out for a win to book their quarter-final berth.
Ahmad Shafie has urged the Kedah supporters, who made their presence felt at the Perak Stadium, to give the 2007 and 2008 champions an extra boost at home.
Said the coach: ”There were 17 busloads of Kedah fans who supported us in Ipoh. Their presence had a positive effect on the team and I am hoping for a sellout crowd at the Darulaman Stadium on Saturday to spur on the players in their herculean task.”
In their first round match in Singapore, Kedah scored deep into injury time to force a 2-2 draw against the Lions.
Tags / Keywords:
football, Malaysia Cup, Kedah, Canaries, Perak, Lions XII, Ahmad Shafie
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