Terengganu striker Mamadou Barry from Guinea (left) scored two goals on his debut in their Super League match against PKNS FC in Kuala Terengganu last Saturday. The Turtles won the match 2-1. - Zabidi Husin/The Star
GEORGE TOWN: Terengganu are feeling relaxed ahead of their FA Cup first-round clash against Kuantan Port at home on Tuesday despite enduring a tough Super League opener last Saturday.
The Turtles had to come from behind at the Sultan Ismail Stadium in Kuala Terengganu before subduing PKNS FC 2-1 with Guinean striker Mamadou Barry netting a brace in his M-League debut.
Coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim, who left PKNS at the end of last season to join Terengganu, feels that the opening day win over his former side has lifted a massive burden off his players.
Last year, Terengganu had to wait until their sixth league match before securing a first win. They failed to recover from the poor start and went on to finish ninth in the league.
“The players had first-game jitters and struggled to get going against PKNS, but we pulled through in the end. It was not our best performance, but it was important to get the early win to ease the pressure,” said Abdul Rahman yesterday.
“Unlike last year, the pressure to win is off now. We can be more relaxed and focus on improving our composure and discipline on the pitch, beginning with the FA Cup match against Kuantan Port.”
The former national coach admitted that he knew next to nothing about Kuantan Port, also known as Shahzan Muda, who play in the third-tier FAM Cup League and are coached by former international Tajuddin Nor.
“Although I have not seen Kuantan Port play, I am confident that Terengganu will progress to the next round. I will make several changes to the starting line-up to freshen up the team. We have another tough league game coming up (against Perak in Ipoh) on Saturday and I need all my players to be ready when called to action.”
Abdul Rahman was also happy with the contribution of his new striker Barry, who scored in the 23rd and 67th minutes to cancel out Hamka Hamzah’s 19th minute opener for PKNS.
“Barry was signed to score the goals and he fulfilled his responsibilities against PKNS. I am glad that Barry did not have to wait long to get his name on the scoring charts. I hope that he maintains his scoring form for us throughout the season.”
Last year, Terengganu reached the FA Cup semi-finals before bowing out 6-5 on aggregate after extra-time to eventual champions Kelantan.