Steve Darby could be without three key players for the match against Perak on Saturday.
Steve Darby could be without three key players for the match against Perak on Saturday.

DEFENDING FA Cup champions Kelantan booked a quarterfinals berth after a hard fought 2-1 win over Sabah last night and coach Steve Darby was a satisfied man with the victory, especially after goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat bailed on the team at the last minute.

Apek rang up at 4pm on match day to inform Darby that he is “not in the right frame of mind” to take the field following the arrival of his baby girl a day earlier.

“I understood his predicament and had to make changes. I brought in (Muhamad) Syazwan Yusoff to make his M-League debut and he did not disappoint. All in all I had three players who made their M-League debut and I am impressed with their overall performance,” Darby told

Kelantan next face a daunting task in their next league match against Perak at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh on Saturday .

Darby is at dilemma as he is set to lose defender Nik Mohd Shahrul Azim Abdul Halim, who is getting married on the day of the match.

Khairul Fahmi has also not confirmed his attendance while Egyptian stalwart Mohamed Shawky is doubtful after he was taken to hospital after yesterday’s match for a cut on his eye that needed two stitches.

“Nik’s wedding date was set much earlier…so there is nothing we can do about this. Perak will be a tough side and I have watched them play…we are in for a tough ride,” added Darby, who was full of praise for the Sabah team coached by Milomir Seslija, himself a former Sabah player.

“Sabah are well organised side and I tip them to go far in the (Premier) league although they lost their first two matches. They are well organised and have some good individual players.”

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