ALL EYES ON HEAVYWEIGHTS
Darul Ta’zim, Kedah and Felda United out to book Malaysia Cup last-eight berths
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.