Football

Published: Tuesday February 25, 2014 MYT 5:09:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday February 25, 2014 MYT 9:56:08 PM

Third time lucky for Kelantan?

PETALING JAYA: Kelantan will be hoping third time is a charm when they start their AFC Cup campaign against Yangon United in their Group G opener at the YTC Stadium in Myanmar.

The Red Warriors had a dream debut in the competition when they reached the quarter-final stage in 2012, before they were knocked out 6-2 on aggregate by Iraqi club Arbil SC.

Last year, the east coast giants’ second stint in the competition ended with a whimper when they were knocked out 2-0 in the round of 16 by Hong Kong side Kitchee.

This year, the Kelantan FA have set a target of a quarter-final finish and have even secured the maximum four foreign players to help their cause.

However, an injury crisis has left them with only Nigerian defender Obinna Nwaneri available for Wednesday night’s match as the other three import players are injured - prolific striker Mohd Ghaddar Mahmoud (groin), Liberian hitman Francis Doe (quadricep) and Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Shawky (hamstring).

Kelantan goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat said a win would be a big bonus for them, but they would be just as satisfied with a draw.

Khairul Fahmi added that the competition is just starting and the Red Warriors can bounce back from a slip-up.

“Our target is to go further in the AFC Cup this year as we are in the competition for the third consecutive year,” said the 25-year-old custodian.

“The coach (Steve Darby) has set a weekly target for us instead of bigger targets. I believe if we can reach these smaller targets we will be on target to win titles.

“However, this game would be a very hard one because we are weakened by the absence of important players ... I think we would be happy to return from this match with just a point.”

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