Selangor set to rise again

KUALA LUMPUR: Multi-million ringgit Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) are runaway favourites to win the Malaysia Cup which they had won in 2017 and 2019 but Selangor coach Tan Cheng Hoe is not one to be cowed by big names.

Cheng Hoe, who took charge of Selangor just two months ago, says he believes his team can create a surprise against the Southern Tigers at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight – much like what Kuala Lumpur did in last year’s final.

However, he said much would depend on the players and whether they can bring their true abilities to the pitch.

“It’s true. It’s like when you take a penalty, you will have a feeling deep inside you if it will go in or not. I believe my players will be going all out tomorrow (today),” said Cheng Hoe. “The players will have to play above themselves in the final.”

The Red Giants are the most successful team in the Malaysia Cup, having won it 33 times, but have not even qualified for the final since 2016 when they finished second best to Kedah 5-6 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

They earned their shot at winning a 34th title this year after beating Terengganu 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-final.

Alor Setar-born Cheng Hoe is also playing it humble. He said that if Selangor manage to overcome the odds to reclaim the trophy today, it would not be his achievement.

“It’s more for the players, supporters and management. In football, we work as a team.”

The former national team coach added that the match will not be the same as the previous ones this year.

“The aura of the game will certainly be different in the final. It is up to the players to show that they can overcome the pressure,” he said.

“I know the JDT players based on my previous work (as coach of the national team) but it is not a guarantee of success because they also know the style of play, the tactics that I will adopt for the Selangor team.

“What’s important is the ability of the individuals. If the players can put on their best performance, we can get a positive result,” he added.

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