His­tory book beck­ons Perak SEDC

New Straits Times - - Sport - Devinder Singh

SEDC are look­ing to build on their good show­ing in the Premier League by ad­vanc­ing to the FA Cup quar­ter-fi­nals to­mor­row in what would be a his­toric achieve­ment for the newly-pro­moted club.

Coach Abu Bakar Fadzim’s side are play­ing in the FA Cup for the first time in the tour­na­ment’s 28year his­tory and have al­ready elim­i­nated Su­per League team Ke­lan­tan on penal­ties in the sec­ond round.

Should they over­come fel­low sec­ond-tier club Kuan­tan in to­mor­row’s third round clash in Ipoh, Perak SEDC can look for­ward to a two-legged last-eight tie against top-level op­po­si­tion.

Abu Bakar said the ex­po­sure of play­ing against top teams will stand his team in good stead as they con­tinue on an un­char­terred jour­ney through pro­fes­sional foot­ball af­ter fin­ish­ing run­ners-up in the third-tier FAM Cup last year.

“We have a chance of cre­at­ing his­tory by reach­ing the quar­ter­fi­nals but we shouldn’t be sat­is­fied with that,” said Abu Bakar, whose side are largely made up of Perak’s Malaysia Games gold medal-win­ning teams from 2014 and 2016.

“Of course we need to beat Kuan­tan first and that is not go­ing to be easy. We have al­ready met in the Premier League (which Perak SEDC won 2-0) and they should be fa­mil­iar with us.

“But the play­ers are ready and they know that if we lose this match we are out of the com­pe­ti­tion. So I hope they give it their all.”

Perak SEDC are cur­rently third in the Premier League stand­ings with 15 points and only three points be­hind Tereng­ganu, who oc­cupy the sec­ond pro­mo­tion slot to the Su­per League.

With three matches re­main­ing be­fore the half­way point, Perak SEDC are also poised to qual­ify for the Malaysia Cup for the first time, though that bat­tle will likely go down to the wire with even eighth-placed Kuala Lumpur, on 11 points, not out of the run­ning.

Abu Bakar hopes to have striker Gil­berto For­tu­nato back from in­jury af­ter the Brazil­ian missed their last two matches, both 1-1 draws against Darul Ta’zim II and Sabah.

“It has not been easy play­ing with just two for­eign­ers but I know I can de­pend on the lo­cal play­ers be­cause they are ea­ger to show what they can do,” added Abu Bakar.

The rest of the third round matches take place on Satur­day with two all-Su­per League ties pitch­ing Perak against Kedah and Pa­hang against Malacca.

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