ALL EYES ON HEAVY­WEIGHTS

Darul Ta’zim, Kedah and Felda United out to book Malaysia Cup last-eight berths

New Straits Times - - Sport - RE­PORTS BY DEVINDER SINGH devinder@nst.com.my

DARUL Ta’zim, Kedah and Felda United can se­cure pas­sage to the Malaysia Cup quar­ter­fi­nals with vic­to­ries in the penul­ti­mate group phase matches to­day.

So far, only Perak SEDC, Perak and Se­lan­gor have booked their last-eight berths as the com­pe­ti­tion’s knock­out stage be­gins to take shape.

Darul Ta’zim will join Se­lan­gor in ad­vanc­ing from Group D when they face Tereng­ganu at the Larkin Sta­dium where a draw would also be suf­fi­cient.

How­ever, coach Ulisses Mo­rais wants the three points in a bid to fin­ish ahead of Se­lan­gor in the group stand­ings as the run­ner­sup would likely have to take on de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Kedah in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

“The play­ers did their best to earn three points from the game,” said Mo­rais, re­fer­ring to Satur­day’s 2-0 win over Sarawak in Kuch­ing thanks to goals by Mo­hammed Ghad­dar and Safiq Rahim.

“It was be­cause our ob­jec­tive is to reach the Malaysia Cup quar­ter-fi­nals. For me, they car­ried out their re­spon­si­bil­ity, which is to re­alise the club’s wish of reach­ing the next round.”

Tereng­ganu are in a des­per­ate state af­ter con­ced­ing a last­minute goal in a 3-2 de­feat by Se­lan­gor in Kuala Tereng­ganu.

Hav­ing ham­mered Univer­siti Te­knologi Mara 5-0 in Shah Alam on July 7, Kedah will be con­fi­dent on notch­ing another win against the same op­po­si­tion in front of their own fans in Alor Star.

Kedah are com­ing off a 6-2 win over Me­laka away on Satur­day and even a draw at the Daru­la­man Sta­dium to­day would be enough to ad­vance from Group C with a match to spare pro­vided to­mor­row’s game be­tween Ke­lan­tan and Me­laka does not end in a draw as well.

Felda need just a point against al­ready-elim­i­nated PKNS in Jengka to reach the last-eight fol­low­ing a con­vinc­ing 4-1 win over Kuala Lumpur in Group B as mid-sea­son sign­ing Thi­ago Au­gusto Fer­nan­des net­ted a hat­trick to take his sea­son tally to 12 goals.

“The credit should go to the play­ers who have worked hard and co­op­er­ated with me. I just tweaked the for­ma­tion and style but it’s all down to the play­ers,” said coach B. Sathi­anathan, who has turned Felda’s sea­son around af­ter re­plac­ing Azmi Mo­hammed.

“But we can’t de­pend on Thi­ago alone to score goals and I hope the oth­ers will also con­trib­ute. How­ever, Thi­ago him­self de­pends on his team­mates to score.”

Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan, fol­low­ing a 2-1 up­set of Pa­hang on Tues­day, can take a step closer to the quar­ter­fi­nals with an away win over Kuala Tereng­ganu T-Team in Group A.

“It’s tough with a lot of games to play and T-Team next will be a hard game away,” said Ne­gri mid­fielder Lee Tuck af­ter Satur­day’s match at Paroi. “We are con­fi­dent and when we start to play well and we get good re­sults.”

Darul Ta’zim coach Ulisses Mo­rais is des­per­ate for his side to fin­ish above Se­lan­gor in Group D.

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