* Eye brows raised as T-Team register a surprise 7-0 over Putrajaya
* Kedah need only a draw to take Premier League title and earn promotion
Eye brows were raised at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium in Kuala Terengganu as T-Team ran riot with a massive 7-0 win over bottom-placed SPA Putrajaya in their penultimate Premier League match on Tuesday. This propelled T-Team (42 points) into contention for the title although still three points behind leaders Kedah (45) after 21 matches. Third-placed Penang (42) are also in the running for a place in the Super League as the Panthers are only separated by goal difference with the same number of points.
Friday is the D-Day for the title contenders apart from the relegation battle between former greats Kuala Lumpur and Kuantan FA. The City Boys gave a lack lustre performance in their 2-0 defeat to the Pahang outfit on Tuesday. Kedah coach Tan Cheng Hoe is not concerned with what is happening at the bottom of the 12-team Premier League as “the possibility of losing the title” on the last day of the league fixtures on Friday is there.
Cheng Hoe’s predicament is understandable when some “weird results” has hogged the league – and the one that stands out is T-Team’s 7-0 drubbing of SPA Putrajaya which took their goal tally to 49 goals scored and 25 conceded. Kedah’s tally is 42-25.
“Our main focus is on our match. A points will be enough to clinch the title and promotion but we will be fully focused to win against DRB Hicom. I have been drilling into the players not to be bothered at all about other matches,” said Cheng Hoe on his arrival from Alor Star with his team.
All Premier League matches will be played at the same time on Friday night – 8.45pm. Kedah were earlier scheduled to play DRB Hicom at Proton Stadium in Tanjung Malim in an afternoon match. The DRB Hicom match has also been shifted to the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil – a move which Cheng Hoe and company welcomed with open hands for many reasons. If Kedah win against DRB Hicom the trophy will be presented to the team immediately after the match.
“I have told the players not to be distracted by off field happenings. We (the team) have mammoth task on our hands on the field…to win the match (against DRB Hicom) and anything more that happens after the match can wait.
“If we win the trophy will be ours and with that comes the promotion to the Super League. There will be enough celebrations and we can join the fun later.”
Cheng Hoe reminded the players that it was a difficult match against Sabah when Kedah had to come from behind twice to seal a 3-2 win and warned that DRB Hicom could be another difficult team for Kedah.
“Just remember that DRB Hocom themselves are battling relegation and will go all out to beat Kedah. We have our work cut out for us,” said Cheng Hoe.
Cheng Hoe expects some 20,000 Kedah fans and supporters to be at the National Stadium. Some will make their way from Kedah while there are also thousands of Kedahans who work in the Klang Valley.
T-Team will face Kuantan FA at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan while Penang will take on UiTM FC at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca. At Cheng Hoe’s disposal is an injury free squad without any suspensions but the former national assistant coach will only pick his team on merit.
The return of Albanian playmaker Liridon Krasniqi from a one-match suspension for three yellow card offences is a further boost to Kedah. Nigerian striker Chidi Edeh and Brazilian hot-shot Sandro Da Silva pack the firepower upfront. Edeh scored a hattrick in Kedah’s 3-2 win over JDT II while Da Silva fired a brace in the win over Sabah.