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Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 2:42:00 PM
Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 2:44:48 PM
by loganath velloo
Perak forward Azlan Ismail is down with fever and will not be playing against Sarawak on Saturday.
GEORGE TOWN: After getting off to a flying start in their Malaysia Cup Group D campaign, Perak only needed to win one of their final three group matches to qualify for the last eight.
However, successive defeats to the Lions XII (1-2) and Kedah (0-1) have left the Seladangs with their backs against the wall.
Now, they are faced with the tough task of beating Sarawak in their final group match in Kuching on Saturday to remain in the competition.
Sarawak, Lions XII and Perak are all level on seven points, with Kedah a point behind.
Sarawak, who enjoy a 100% record in Kuching after wins over Lions XII (2-1) and Kedah (4-0), are ahead of Perak on goal difference. The Crocs only need a draw tonight to go through.
“Instead of taking the easy route, Perak have chosen to do it the hard way. We have nobody but ourselves to blame for our current predicament,” lamented Perak coach Mohd Azraai Khor before departing for Kuching on Friday.
“We have no choice but to win in Sarawak to remain in the tournament. It will not be an easy task as Sarawak are playing well at the moment, and they were unlucky to lose to Lions XII midweek.”
Azraai has warned his players to stop conceding late goals. Against Lions XII in Singapore and in the two matches against Kedah, Perak threw away valuable points after allowing their opponents to score late in the game.
“We are paying a big price for not staying focused for the entire match. We played well against Kedah in Ipoh (on Tuesday) but ended up empty-handed because of one defensive mistake in injury time.
“It is a straightforward equation in Kuching. Whoever wins, goes through. The stakes are too high for us to concede silly goals there.”
To make matters worse, the Perak squad left for Kuching Friday without four first team players - defender Noor Hazrul Mustafa (fever), midfielders S. Chanturu (ankle injury) and M. Sivakumar (thigh injury) and forward Azlan Ismail (fever).
Said the coach: “It is a huge setback to lose four key players. But I believe that the Perak team that will face Sarawak will be physically and mentally strong to get the job done.”
Tags / Keywords:
football, Malaysia Cup, Perak, Sarawak, Lions XII, Mohd Azraai Khor
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