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Thursday April 1, 2010
By RONNIE OH
GEORGE TOWN: An unexpected victory. But Kedah are not about to just ride on a 2-0 lead with an away goal advantage they now command over Terengganu in the FA Cup semi-final tie.
Kedah coach Ahmad Yusof made that clear that his side would still work very hard for a positive result in the second-leg match at the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Setar on Saturday.
The Canaries had trooped out of the first-leg match at the Sultan Ismail Stadium in Kuala Terengganu on Tuesday with more than they had hoped for.
“A draw from the away match would have been a great result. But the team surprised me with their performance and their determination to win the match,” said Ahmad.
“We not only won but have the bonus of two precious away goals in the bag to help our cause to reach the final.”
National Under-23 striker Faizal Abu Bakar put Kedah in front in the 28th minute and their top goal poacher, Azlan Ismail, netted the second in the 59th minute to take his tally to eight goals thus far in all competitions.
Ahmad was quick to warn his boys against taking the Turtles for granted in the return match.
“Terengganu certainly have the ability to turn things around. They were very creative and dangerous in the first-leg match but poor finishing let them down,” he said.
“We have to keep their attack, especially their striker, Manaf (Mamat), under close check in the return match.”
But Kedah will not be at full strength for the second-leg match. National defender Mohd Sabre Abu will be out on a one-match suspension for having received two yellow cards.
And Shahrulnizam Mustapha is a doubtful starter after suffering a recurrence of a groin injury. Azlan’s availability is also hanging in the balance as he has to face the FA of Malaysia’s disciplinary board tomorrow for a red card offence in the quarter-final first-leg match against Armed Forces on March 9.
“We hope that Sharulnizam’s injury is not too serious and we have to keep our fingers crossed that the disciplinary board will not hand Azlan more punishment than the two-match automatic suspension,” said Ahmad.
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