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Wednesday October 30, 2013 MYT 5:30:00 PM
Wednesday October 30, 2013 MYT 5:45:54 PM
by eric samuel
Indra Putra Mahayuddin seen here in ecstasy after scoring the winning goal for Kelantan over Armed Forces in last year's Malaysia Cup final. He hopes to retain the title as his side face Pahang in this year's final at the Shah Alam Stadium on Sunday.
PETALING JAYA: Pahang are the more inexperienced of the two but they can win it from the flanks, says Kelantan hotshot Indra Putra Mahayudin ahead of their Malaysia Cup showdown at the Shah Alam Stadium on Sunday.
The 32-year-old former international should know what he is talking about, having enjoyed a colourful career in the M-League and playing in more than six Cup finals.
“They may be an inexperienced side, with barely any star players, but they can be dangerous if we do not clip their wings. Pahang have two dangerous flankers in R. Gopinathan (left) and R. Surendran (right). They are fast, wily and provide good support to the strikers.
“In the semi-finals, Pahang punished Sarawak 3-1 in the first-leg – with two goals worked out from the flanks. Pahang are also hungry for success. The last time they won the Malaysia Cup was 21 years ago. So, you can imagine the determination of the players to go all out to take the Cup home again,” said Indra.
In contrast, treble winners Kelantan are the new kingpins of the domestic competition, having won six major trophies in the last three seasons.
Kelantan made their mark in 2010 – under former national coach B. Sathianathan, who took the Red Warriors to their maiden Malaysia Cup title.
Since then, Kelantan have won two Super League titles (2010, 2012), two FA Cups (2012, 2013) and the Malaysia Cup for the second time last season.
Indra said that this year’s final would be a battle between a seasoned Kelantan side and a youthful Pahang team.
“Kelantan have been in the Cup final almost every other year since 2009 (when they lost in the Malaysia Cup and FA Cup finals). The core of the team is still there ... since we won the treble under coach Bojan (Hodak) last year. We have experience on our side but a Cup final is always full of surprises,” he said.
Kelantan have depth in their side with the experienced Khairul Fahmi Che Mat in goal, inspirational skipper Mohd Badhri Radzi and Shakir Shaari in the engine room and Mohd Norfarhan Mohd, Nigerian Dickson Nwakaeme and Indra up front.
The only setback is that their pillar of strength in defence – Nigeria’s Obinna Nwaneri – is suspended for the final.
Tags / Keywords:
Malaysian Cup, football, Indra Putra Mahayudin, Pahang, Kelantan
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