PETALING JAYA: The heat is on for the FA Cup final slots.
The first leg of the two semi-final matches – Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) versus Pahang and Kelantan versus Felda United – ended in draws.
JDT and Pahang drew 1-1 while Felda held Kelantan 3-3.
This has only upped the ante for the return legs of the two ties – with Pahang hosting JDT at the Darul Makmur Stadium on Friday and Felda welcoming Kelantan to the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday.
It’s all to play for and JDT manager Bojan Hodak certainly knows it.
He is confident his men can overcome Pahang as “we are on a roll and in great form”.
That they certainly are – having gone undefeated in 11 matches since March 15.
The JDT side have also chalked up five wins in their last seven matches – including bringing down Super League leaders Selangor 1-0 at the Shah Alam Stadium last Friday.
Bojan said that his team, led by Argentine hotshot Luciano Figueroa and Mohd Amri Yahyah, should be able to handle the pressure of playing in front of the vociferous Pahang fans.
“Pahang are an established side ... with experienced players, but they can be vulnerable at home, too,” Bojan said from Kuantan on Thursday.
He was referring to Pahang’s back-to-back home losses to Selangor (1-0) and Terengganu (4-1).
But Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan believes that his men have gotten over the two home defeats.
“We will bounce back and beat JDT to seal our place in the final,” vowed Zainal, who believes that they hold a slight advantage after snatching a last-minute equaliser in the first-leg at the Larkin Stadium.
Pahang have not lost to JDT in three previous meetings this season, having recorded one win and two draws.
The only setback for Pahang on Friday will be the absence of national centreback Razman Roslan, who has to sit out a one-match suspension.