Irfan plotting Sarawak downfall
HAVING beaten one Super League team to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals, Terengganu coach Irfan Bakti Abu Salim sees no reason why his team cannot repeat the feat when they host Sarawak in the first leg tomorrow.
A 1-0 victory over state derby rivals Kuala Terengganu T-Team in the third round has instilled confidence in Premier League promotion chasers Terengganu.
But they left it to the very last minute of extra-time to settle the tie with a goal by Lutfulla Turaev earning Terengganu a last-eight spot.
Aside from the Premier League title, Irfan believes the FA Cup represents another chance for Terengganu to win honours this season, a tournament they won in 2000 and 2011.
“By beating T-Team I think we showed that the gap between us and the Super League teams is not that big,” Irfan told Timesport yesterday.
“It has given us confidence to take on the Super League teams and while Sarawak are yet another Super League side, I think we are capable of doing something. But we have to be careful not to concede a goal before we go to Kuching for the second leg (on Apr 21).”
Irfan however will have to plot victory in the first leg at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium without suspended duo Issey Nakajima-Farran and Firdaus Faudzi.
Terengganu, one of four Premier League sides in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, currently sit in second place in the table, four points behind leaders Negri Sembilan.
Irfan does not think their FA Cup run will hamper their bid to return to the Super League at the first attempt following last year’s relegation.
“I think we can handle both at the same time,” he said. “We just need to take each match at a time. I would very much like to make the semi-finals of the FA Cup and maybe play Kedah. That would be a real test for us.”
The winners of the Terengganu-Sarawak tie will face either Super League leaders Kedah or Perak SEDC in the last four.