Pic credit to JST
PETALING JAYA, Nov 17 – Defending champions Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) are confident of reaching the last four in the Malaysia Cup competition when they face Kedah FC in the return leg quarter-finals at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Iskandar Puteri, Johor Bahru on Thursday.
So are the East Coast giants Terengganu FC – hoping to ride on their 2-1 win over Sarawak United in the first leg played at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Gong Badak, Kuala Terengganu. The return-leg will be played at the UiTM FC Stadium in Shah Alam.
At the KLFA Stadium in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur City FC are confident that they can check and deny 33 time champions Selangor FC after winning the first leg played at the Petaling Jaya Stadium by a 2-0 margin.
Melaka United, after winning the first-leg at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu against Sabah FC 1-0 are also confident that they can overcome the Rhinos at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka for a place in the last four.
However, none of the quarter-final teams can be overly confident on Thursday night. The big showdown between JDT and Kedah down south is the main drawcard after both teams battled to a scoreless draw at the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Setar.
The Red Cards were severely handicapped in the first leg without big names like Kipre Tchetche, Anumanthan Kumar and Rabih Ataya but gave the Southern Tigers a big fright and Kedah’s Singaporean coach Aidil Sharin Sahak could just spoil the party for the champions.
”It was a close match in the first leg. I am proud of  my players who gave their best and could have walked away with a win. Still, it was a morale booster for us and now we can go for the return-leg with confidence,” said Aidil of the match on Thursday.
Rightly said Aidil Sharin. However, at the same time, Kedah and their die hard fans must keep their fingers crossed that the match officials will do a good job without “Fear or Favour” when playing at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium.
The first leg in Alor Setar saw eight bookings and one could expect the scenario in Iskandar Puteri.
JDT’s head coach Benjamin Mora has not shown the jitters yet but deep down he is certainly having butterflies in his stomach – knowing that any goal from Kedah could be a big, big disadvantage to his team.
For Terengganu FC head coach Nafuzi Zain, he is aware that the 2-1 win from the first leg does not give his Turtles any advantage against the gritty Sarawak United.
Besieged with a bagful of off field issues, the Golden Hornbills, have become the envy of many for the tremendous fighting spirit, guts and determination apart from pride and glory.
Sarawak United head coach E. Elavarasan is a known shrewd tactician, and, despite injuries to his key players, has been able to keep the East Malaysian side alive in the prestigious Malaysia Cup.
The key to success or a positive result on the field, in Elavarasan’s own words is ”mental strength” and how his injured Brazilian playmaker Sandro Mendonca responds to the injury he picked up in the first leg.
Elavarasan was quick to point out that team is ready eventuality to wipe out the one-goal deficit. “If the need arises, we will make do without Sandro and adopt different match plans,” he said.
A fired up KL City is the favourite against Selangor. With Romel Morales in top form with nine goals in the Malaysia Cup, KL coach Bojan Hodak can count on the Colombian who has been simply fantastic in his new role as hitman.

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