Sunday, 27 October 2013 | MYT 11:08 PM
Hodak coy ahead of Malaysia Cup final
Kelantan defender Obinna Nwaneri (mid) will miss the Malaysia Cup final due to suspension.
PETALING JAYA: Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak has stoked up the mind games ahead of their Malaysia Cup final against Pahang by declaring that his team will be under pressure to retain their title at the Shah Alam Stadium next Sunday.
On Saturday, Pahang ended a 16-year wait to play in the final after holding Premier League champions Sarawak 1-1 in the semi-final second leg match for a 4-2 aggregate at the State Stadium in Kuching.
The crafty Croatian said that the biggest advantage for Pahang is their youngsters.
“Pahang have a number of fast and young attacking players ... these players can be a threat,” said the 42-year-old Hodak.
“And they have no pressure as they are the underdogs, and everyone expects Kelantan to beat them.
“A final is always a different game. There will be no favourites and the team that play well will win.”
On Friday, the Red Warriors marched into the final with a late fightback to hold Armed Forces to a 2-2 draw to go through 4-3 on aggregate in Kota Baru.
However, on paper, Kelantan who retained the FA Cup in June, are clear favourites to lift the Malaysia Cup again.
Pahang have not beaten them this season and could only hold them to a 2-2 draw in the Super League and a 1-1 draw in the Malaysia Cup group stages at the Darul Makmur Stadium.
Kelantan, however, have beaten Pahang 4-0 in the Malaysia Cup group stage and 2-0 in the Super League at their Sultan Mohd IV Stadium.
Hodak, will not have influential Nigerian defender Obinna Nwaneri for the final as the centreback is suspended after picking up his second yellow card against Armed Forces.
For Pahang, their hotshot striker – Argentine Matias Conti – will be fighting to get fit after picking up an ankle injury in the match against Sarawak.
“Conti may miss the final while we will be without Obinna. I think we are even now.”