Wednesday, 5 February 2014 | MYT 4:37 PM
Felda coach Irfan content with win
Felda United's Yaroslav Krushelnitskiy (centre) in action against Sime Darby during their FA Cup second round match on Feb 4, 2014.
PETALING JAYA: Sime Darby took Felda United coach Irfan Bakti by surprise even though his side knocked the Super League team out of the FA Cup second round.
The depleted Sime Darby team, without all four of their foreign players - Wisdom Agblexo, Dilshod Sharofetdinov, Mahmoud Amnah and William Mensah, put on a tigerish display before Felda grabbed the winner through Liberian midfielder Zah Rahan Krangar’s volley in the 85th minute at the Selayang Stadium on Tuesday.
Irfan said he was forced to change his game plan during the match and also chided his players for being complacent.
The 62-year-old coach also said he’s disappointed with Uzbekistani defender Yaroslav Krushelnitskiy who declared himself fit for the match but had to be substituted in the second half due to poor performance.
“I expected Sime Darby to play a buildup game as they were without several of their regulars but they played a long ball game and it left my defence under pressure,” said Irfan after the match.
“I had to reshuffle and make substitutions ... Krushelnitskiy said he was fit to play but in the second half he said he was only 70% and I had to take him out. He was unprofessional and it almost cost us.
“We managed to score a beautiful goal and a win is a win. We will now focus on our next league match against Negri Sembilan on Friday.”
Premier League outfit Felda will next take on another Super League side, Sarawak, in the two-legged FA Cup quarter-finals on March 11 and 18.
Meanwhile, Sime Darby coach Ismail Zakaria admitted Felda had been the better side after his side’s 1-0 defeat, but still felt there were encouraging signs.
Ismail praised the performance of youngsters – 20-year-old striker Nazrul Kamaruzaman, midfielders 19-year-old Nur Areff Kamarudddin and 21-year-old Azmirul Azmi – who impressed in the absence of the regulars.
Ismail added that Sime Darby’s target for the season is Super League survival rather than the FA Cup.
“We were without our foreign players due to injuries and I had to gamble with youngsters.
“We created a lot of chances in the first half but couldn’t convert them and Felda scored a good goal to win but I’m happy with the players’ performance and determination.
“The youngsters did well and it’s a good sign for the team. We will also welcome back our foreign players ahead of our Super League match against Selangor on Saturday,” said Ismail.