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Friday December 21, 2012

Ready for Gold Cup glory

KEDAH Malays are determined to make it their seventh win in eleven Cup final appearances in the 72nd Sultans’ Gold Cup soccer final against Perak at Stadium Perak tomorrow.

This will be Kedah’s third appearance in the finals in the past four years.

They had lost in two previous finals, against Perlis in 2009 (0-2) and to Kelantan in 2010 (4-5 on penalties). Last year, Pahang beat Malacca 3-1 in the final.

For Perak, this will be their first final in more than 20 years after their 3-0 success against Kelantan in the 1990 final.

This will also be the first time in 60 years that Kedah and Perak will meet in the final.

In their previous two meetings, Perak lost on both occasions by 0-1 in 1949 and 1-4 in 1952.

Kedah have won the cup on six previous occasions in 1948, 1949, 1952¸ 1953, 1996 and 2005 while Perak lifted the cup in 1962, 1974 and 1990.

This will be Perak’s seventh appearance in the final.

In the two-leg semi-final in this competition, Kedah defeated Terengganu on an away goal advantage after both teams had played to a one-all aggregate score after two legs (first leg in Alor Setar ended 0-0, return leg in Kuala Terengganu ended 1-1 draw).

Perak defeated Selangor 7-1 on aggregate in the semi-final to qualify for the final.

Kedah coach Mohamad Ramlee, who is in charge of the team for the fourth consecutive year, said that he had yet to set a game plan against Perak.

He said: “This is my fourth year with the team and I have four players who had the bitter experience of ending up on the losing side for two successive sea- sons.

“Senior players Mohd Nizat Salleh, Mohd Hisyam Mohd Shofi, Mohd Nizam Mansor and Hattaphon Bun An are eager to lay their hands on the elusive cup.

“Playing away in this final will not affect us as the team perform better in away matches. Just look at our quarter-final and semi-final results.”

Mohamad Ramlee also stressed that the team would approach the final like the Terengganu match in the semi-final stage.

“There’s no set strategy. We will play our usual attacking game and defend in numbers.

“I have hardworking and intelligent players who are yearning for glory,” he added.

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