Confident Perak aim to start campaign on the right footing

IPOH: Perak are treating their opening Group D Malaysia Cup match against Brunei DPMM at the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Bandar Seri Begawan today like it's the final. 

“It's necessary to treat our first game like the final and most importantly to win it. Thus, we have to give everything we have for a morale-boosting start. 

“We are not going there for sightseeing, a holiday or just to take part but to win,” said coach Steve Darby (pic)

Perak are also buzzing with confidence as they have done better playing away than at home in the Super League which saw the Seladang finish a creditable third after struggling in the earlier rounds. 

Despite injury to defensive midfielder K. Yoganathan due to a motorcycle accident earlier this week and suspension to rightback Dominic Minsi, Darby will be still able to name a formidable side for tonight's clash. 

Perak will also be without three youngsters in strikers Mohd Razali Umar and Hazrul Shah and defender Azlan Zainal who are away with the Malaysian Olympic squad currently on a playing tour in South Africa. 

“This is not a major setback as I am confident I will be able to name a strong side with what is available. “The first eleven has got to play well and we will create problems for the opponents,” added Darby. 

Guinean Keita Mandjou, the Super League “Golden Boot' winner with 17 goals, is certain to partner the speedy R. Surendren in attack while skipper Ahmad Shahrul Azhar and Abdoulaye Traore will be the linkmen in midfield. 

Perak's defence is marshalled by the hard-tackling Vedran Kukoc while Nasril Nourdin will be the man to beat between the posts. 

Nevertheless, Darby said it would be tough playing against Brunei, who had been playing well in front of their home crowd. 

He said on paper, Perak, a Super League side, should beat Brunei as they were a Premier League team. 

“But Brunei have improved tremendously and have also been further reinforced with the services of a Brazilian and two Croatians. They have also done well when beating Pahang 2-1 at home to qualify for next season's Super League,” said Darby.  

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