PETALING JAYA: Kuala Lumpur’s influential defender D. Kenny Pallraj is out on a red card, but that’s no problem.
The City side will have Australian centreback Giancarlo Gallifuoco (pic) back for the Malaysia Cup second-leg quarter-final match at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan today.
Returning from suspension, the 29-year-old will partner Croatian centreback Matko Zirdum as the team look to preserve or increase their 1-0 lead from the first-leg.
Former Tottenham Hotspur player Gallifuoco said the game against Pahang would be huge as they seek to qualify for their second final of the season.
However, it will not be easy as the Elephants have quality, especially in the form of Liberian striker Kpah Sherman, who has been the fulcrum for the east coast side.
“This is a huge game for us. The FA Cup final was a massive start to the year. We have such good memories of the Malaysia Cup,” said Gallifuoco.
“We know we can’t make the top three in the Super League, so the main motivation now is to qualify for the Malaysia Cup final.”
Kuala Lumpur are seventh in the league, well behind the leaders.
“The team did well in the first-leg. Pahang had some chances so did we. We managed to keep a clean sheet and get a home win. I am hoping to finish the job tomorrow and get to the semi-final,” said Gallifuoco.
“Sherman is Pahang’s main man. That is the main battle for me but I like playing against the best players in the league. He has power, strength and speed.
“Their Uzbekistani midfielder (Kuvondik Ruziev) is dangerous too,” he said.
“I am hoping to do what I know the team can do. Stay compact, composed and disciplined.”
Gallifuoco said despite the team’s poor run in the league, he would consider their season as successful so far and it would be even better if they get to the Malaysia Cup final.
“When I first joined in 2021, the goal was not to get relegated. But we have now made it to three finals since.
“The FA Cup was a beautiful achievement and allows us to look at it as a successful year.
“But now, why not Malaysia Cup too? It starts with this game against Pahang.”