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Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 9:39:00 PM
Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 9:52:32 PM
Sarawak's Bosnian striker Muamer Salibasic has vowed not to let the fans down when his team take on Pahang in the Malaysia Cup semi-final second leg at the Sarawak State Stadium on Saturday.
KUCHING: Sarawak are set to party here tonight.
Such is the confidence of the East Malaysians as they prepare to host Pahang in the return-leg of the Malaysia Cup semi-finals at the State Stadium.
Pahang hold the advantage after winning the first-leg 3-1 in Kuantan last week but Sarawak coach Robert Alberts has warned of a comeback saying: “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings”.
The Dutchman has set everything in place as he seeks to stop Pahang and clinch the ticket to the final.
In fact, he has everything going for his team – their best men, homeground advantage and, above all, their huge fan support.
“We have all the ingredients to pull through ... the players are all available, fully fit and in top form,” said Alberts.
It is learnt that Alberts is likely to field the same line-up that beat Kedah, Perak and Sime Darby FC following the return of seasoned defender Ronny Harun and midfielder Joseph Kalang Tie from injury and suspension respectively.
“It’s difficult to pick the first team. I’ll see who fits into the game plan,” said Alberts, who is likely to bank on Bosnian Muamer Salibasic and Sabah-born Bobby Gonzales to deliver the goals.
Pahang are aware that they will be in for a hot reception when they step onto the pitch. The Elephants, who last won the Malaysia Cup 21 years ago, are also hell-bent on making the final.
“This is a test for the players and the onus is on them to show character and get past this hurdle,” said Pahang coach Dollah Salleh, who will be counting on frontmen Argentinian Matias Conti and Mohd Azamuddin Akil to kill off Sarawak.
And Alberts is aware of the danger posed by Pahang.
“Pahang are a great team with quality players. We have learnt from the first-leg experience that their flankers – R. Gopinathan and R. Surendran – pose a big threat. They are fast ... and their strikers are dangerous in the box,” said Alberts.
Alberts also reminded his men to play their normal game and not lose focus as they seek an early goal to turn the game around.
“I don’t want them to rush to score goals ... and leave big gaps in the back,” he said.
Salibasic has vowed not to let the home fans down.
“We must beat Pahang by a comfortable margin. Anybody can score goals and, of course, I would love to score as well,” said Salibasic, who has scored seven goals in the Malaysia Cup competition.
“I think it is not impossible for us to win by 2-0 because Ronny (Harun) and Joseph (Kalang) will be back in the team and we will be strong in all positions.”
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