# Playing at home does not guarantee a smooth ride
# Hoping for his foreign duo to strike
By Rizal Abdullah
Kedah will not have it easy in Saturday’s return-leg Malaysia Cup quarter-final match at Alor Setar’s Darul Aman Stadium despite playing at home.
The first-leg at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi ended in a surprise scoreless draw – considered a big achievement for Premier League outfit Negri Sembilan.
The jolt in Paroi came in the wake of Kedah’s 2-1 win over Kelantan in a Super League match which gave the Red Eagles a third place in the league standings.
Kedah head coach Tan Cheng Hoe has called on his players to forget the first-leg result in Paroi and instead “pull up their socks” at Darul Aman and give the home fans a perfect Malaysia Day present with a win and a place in the semi-finals.
“It is not going to be easy against Negri whose morale boosting draw in Paroi has given them the confidence. We need to up our game and get the goals – make every opportunity count.
“A wasted goal-scoring opportunity will only make things difficult for us. We cannot afford to do this after the draw in Paroi. However, I am confident my players will be fully focused on getting a win,” said Cheng Hoe from Alor Setar.
Cheng Hoe is counting on his foreign striker Thiago Augusto (who comes with vast Malaysia Cup experience when he was with Felda United) and former New Zealand World Cupper Shane Smeltz to deliver in Alor Setar.
As a parting shot Cheng Hoe has called on the home fans to give their full support to the Red Eagles.
Kedah reached the Malaysia Cup final last year but were beaten by Selangor 2-0 for the silverware – the most sought after in Malaysian football.