Sarawak need a small miracle to make to the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals after losing back-to-back matches against Kedah in Group B. Pic shows Sarawak striker S. Chanturu after scoring a goal against Kedah in Kuching. - Filepic
GEORGE TOWN: Sarawak are aware that their chances of qualifying for the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals are very slim.
The back-to-back 2-1 defeats to Kedah in Kuching and Alor Setar have left the Crocs marooned at the bottom of Group B with three points after four matches.
With just two games to go, Perak and Terengganu lead the group on seven points each, with Kedah a further point adrift.
Despite the dire situation, Sarawak coach Robert Alberts is not pushing the panic button ahead of the Crocs’ match against Perak at the State Stadium in Kuching on Saturday night.
“Our chances are very slim but we will remain calm and try to win our remaining two games,” said Alberts.
“We lost to Perak (0-2) in Ipoh, and they are a difficult side to play against, especially with a depleted team at my disposal.”
The Dutchman was referring to the absence of Hungarian defender Gabor Gyepes and influential midfielder Junior Eldstal through suspension.
Both players were sent off during the defeat in Alor Setar on Wednesday.
Winger S. Chanturu, who scored against Kedah, is also a doubt for Saturday’s match after picking up a knock on Wednesday.
Alberts’ main grouse is the Malaysia Cup’s tight schedule, which has seen the team from Borneo travel across the South China Sea three times in the past 10 days. After the Perak match, they will take to the skies again for next Wednesday’s final group game against Terengganu in Kuala Terengganu.
“Sarawak have a disadvantage because we travel the furthest among all the teams. We have a match every four days, and we spend two of those days travelling,” he said.
“There is a rush to get through the group games with not enough time for recovery, and it is tough on the players. After that there is a long break (for the Asian Games). The scheduling for the Malaysia Cup could have been planned better.”
Even if they win their final two Group B games, Sarawak will still need other results in the group to go their way to qualify for the last eight.