Durakovic calm ahead of Perak’s cruncher against Kedah for a spot in AFC Cup


Samba power: Perak are hoping for Brazilian Guilherme De Paula (left) to be fit for tonight’s must-win match against Kedah.

PETALING JAYA: Coach Mehmet Durakovic is not losing sleep ahead of Perak’s crucial tie against Kedah in the final Super League match of the season.

The Seladang are third with 18 points and trail second-placed Kedah by a point and at stake in tonight’s clash in Ipoh is a spot in the AFC Cup.

The hosts must win while Kedah just need a draw to book their berth.

Durakovic expects his boys to extend their unbeaten four-match run and maintain their fighting spirit which saw them bounce back to hold Pahang 3-3 last week.

“Their morale are high right now after the Pahang match,” said the 54-year-old Australian.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on them although we know only a win will enable us to finish second and book the AFC Cup spot. I can’t ask for more as they have given their everything in previous matches.”

Perak will be without inspirational skipper Shahrul Saad who is under suspension after collecting three yellow cards.

Meanwhile, their Brazilian striker Guilherme de Paula is expected to make a return after shrugging off his hamstring injury.

Seasoned defender Idris Ahmad is expected to fill in for Shahrul. Perak’s other options are youngster Nazirul Afif and K. Shatiya.

“I have not decided who will replace Shahrul.

“It’s hard to get a replacement because he’s our key player in defence,” added Durakovic.

“The good news is De Paula is looking positive in training and has a 50-50 chance of being fielded.

“I’m not thinking too much about individuals because football is a team sport and what’s important is how my players work with each other during the game.”

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