Cup final a battle of bragging rights between Kedah and JDT

  • Football
  • Saturday, 02 Nov 2019

Hard at work: Kedah coach Aidil Sharin (centre) joining his players in training ahead of their Malaysia Cup final against JDT at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS / The Star

PETALING JAYA: The ultimate bragging rights are at stake when Kedah take on Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) in the 93rd edition of the Malaysia Cup final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.

Both teams are gunning to complete a double in the 2019 M-League season as they had each won a silverware earlier.

Kedah had won the FA Cup on July 27 and a month later, JDT went on to secure their sixth Super League title with four matches to play.

Star-studded JDT are the favourites to clinch their second Malaysia Cup while Kedah, who last won it in 2016, will be aiming for their sixth title.

The last time both teams met in the Malaysia Cup final was in 2017, when JDT triumphed 2-0.

Kedah have not beaten the Southern Tigers this season, drawing 1-1 at home (March 29) and losing 2-0 away (May 26) in the Super League.

Kedah will head into the final without two key players, Brazilian centreback Renan Alves and rightback Rizal Ghazali, who are serving suspension after collecting two yellow cards.

No stress: Johor Darul Ta’zim team players going through their drills during training yesterday. — FAIHAN GHANI / The StarNo stress: Johor Darul Ta’zim team players going through their drills during training yesterday. — FAIHAN GHANI / The Star

But their coach Aidil Shahrin is confident they can spring a surprise and his belief stems from the Red Eagles’ march into the final.

In the two-leg semi-finals, Kedah stunned Pahang in a hard-fought battle to progress on the away goals rule after holding the Elephants 8-8 on aggregate. The match at Kuantan’s Darul Makmur Stadium ended 5-5 after extra time.

Aidil said losing both players and having only five days to prepare for the final after playing for 120 minutes in their last match left them with their backs against the wall.

“It will be difficult to play a team of JDT’s stature. They are a strong side with good overall quality,” said Aidil yesterday.

“We are, however, undeterred and we love to be the underdogs. I always tell my players that we need to play to our strengths and not to put pressure on ourselves when playing a stronger side.

“This is the final, I want them to enjoy themselves.”

Meanwhile, JDT coach Benjamin Mora brushed aside that his team are the favourites.

“We don’t see ourselves being the favourites, we have a long way to go to win more trophies and create history. Kedah are the FA Cup winners and it will not be easy. In a Cup final, I don’t think there’s a favourite,” said the Mexican.

“There are so many factors involved in a Cup final, the players’ mindset are different. We do have a number of national players who are used to playing at the venue here, so it gives us some advantage but not much.

“I hope the match will end in regulation time, so there will be less stress on the coaches and players.

“I just want the players to execute the game plan and if they can do that, the result will come.”

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Malaysia Cup , Kedah , Johor Darul Ta’zim , JDT


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