PETALING JAYA: Revenge certainly is sweet for Felda United.
The Fighters showed true grit and spirit to shock home side Melaka 3-1 in their return Group D fixture at the Hang Jebat Stadium on Saturday. Just a week ago, they had lost 1-3 to Melaka at the Tun Abdul Razak Stadium in Jengka.
Hadin Azman (pic) and Danial Amier Norhisham, inspired by their recent call-up to the national team, gave virtuoso performances, as the former scored two goals (47th and 73rd minute) and the latter made it three in the 69th minute.
Melaka first took the lead through Serbian midfielder Luka Milunovic in the 36th minute.
The fight for the quarter-finals slots in Group D is now more open, thanks to Felda’s fantastic comeback.
The first-placed Melaka and Selangor have six points each, while Felda are just a point behind third-placed Police, who have five points.
Felda coach Nidzam Jamil is thrilled that his team are back in business and has urged his boys to fight till the end.
“The last defeat was in our minds and we did not want to lose again, so we fought until the end. This result leaves the group open, ” said Nidzam.
“My players countered every tactical play set by Melaka. It’s always good working with players like Hadin, Danial, S. Chanturu, Jasazrin (Jamaluddin), Masaki (Watanabe) and Tanker (Thiago Aquino).”
Nidzam said the team weren’t given a chance to survive in the Super League nor do well in the Cup competitions, but they’ve defied expectations so far.
“We’ve qualified for the semi-finals of the FA Cup, still in the running for the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals and we survived the fierce relegation battle in the Super League, ” said Nidzam.
“Eighty per cent of the squad are newbies, and we have many young boys. They will learn and will only get better from this experience.”
Felda’s Malaysia Cup campaign will resume on Sept 14 when they face Police in Jengka, and five days later, they face Selangor at the same stadium.
“I hope the Jengka fans will come and support us. There will be a three-week break, so we’ll fine-tune our preparation, ” added Nidzam.
Meanwhile, Melaka’s assistant coach Nidzam Adzha Yusoff said the injury to Filipino winger Patrick Reichelt in the first half has disrupted his plans but promised to bounce back.