Kelantan skipper vows they will bounce back strongly

PETALING JAYA: The Red Warriors, true to their name, will continue to soldier on despite failing to get their hands on the FA Cup on Saturday night.

Kelantan lost 4-1 on penalties to Selangor in the final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil after both teams were tied 1-1 in extra-time. The teams were goalless in regulation play.

The east coast side had gone into the final looking for their first major silverware in Malaysian football in 88 years.

But for Kelantan skipper Mohd Badri Radzi (pic), the defeat is not the end of the world.

“We will bounce back,” he vowed yesterday.

For a moment on Saturday night it looked like it would be Kelantan’s day after all when striker Mohd Norfarhan Mohd put them ahead in the 93rd minute of extra-time.

But their joy lasted for eight minutes only, no thanks to Selangor skipper Mohd Amri Yahyah’s equaliser, which forced the tie to be decided on penalties.

“Of course, it is a bitter pill to swallow when you lose on penalty shoot-outs. What made it worse was going down in front of our die-hard fans, who made the long trip from Kota Baru,” said Mohd Badri.

“It was one of the biggest games we have ever played in. We are thankful for their presence and truly feel for them.

“I can assure our fans that we are not done yet.

“There is still the Premier League and the Malaysia Cup to aim for. We will not be discouraged nor demoralised by the defeat. In fact, it has only made us more determined to repay our fans’ faith in us.”

Kelantan are currently third in the Super League standings with 25 points from 11 matches and have played a game less than leaders Perlis (28pts). Selangor, with 25 points, are second because of their better goal difference.

Kelantan coach Peter Butler praised his men for taking the game to the fancied Red Giants.

“Selangor are a huge club while we (Kelantan) have been in the doldrums. We have eight boys from the Premier League last season who played in the final. We enjoyed long periods of possession and were the better team on the night. But football can be a cruel game,” said the former West Ham star on the shoot-out heartache.

“We are in a team re-building process and lacked the killer instinct in front of goal. Anyway, there is no excuse and I am proud of my men. The Cup final atmosphere was fantastic ... the real winner is Malaysian football,” said Butler.

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