Kedah coach Nizham Adzha Yusoff is a relieved man as his crock-listed boys have recovered and made a convincing statement after thrashing Premier League sides UiTM 5-0 at the UiTM Stadium in Shah Alam.
The Red Eagles currently stand at the top with six points in their Malaysia Cup Group C campaign with a three-point margin ahead of Melaka United and Kelantan – who are both tied with three points each.
All thanks to youngster Syafiq Ahmad (3rd minute), Kosovan playmaker Liridon Krasniqi (43rd), Danish striker Ken Ilso (80th), Brazilian midfielder Sandro da Silva (90th) and a consolation own goal by UiTM defender Faiz Bandong in injury time.
According to Nizham, he was delighted to have his veterans of midfielder Baddrol Bakhtiar, pillar of defence Australian Zac Anderson and Danish striker Ken Ilso back into the fray.
Leaving only midfielder Mohd Farhan Roslan as the only casualty in the team.
“I’m glad that Baddrol and most of my players are back. Baddrol came back in the second match after the Ramadhan break and scored a goal.
“And in our recent match with UiTM, he had contributed well. Hopefully, he will continue to build on his performance.
“We have picked up some momentum and there is progression. But I feel that we still need to work on our mistakes. It’s still a long way to go,” said Nizham.
Turning his focus to the Super League, Nidzam remains wary of relegation battlers Melaka United – who beat Kelantan 3-0 in the other Group C match – when both sides clash at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca on 11 July.
“We have to remain focused as I have heard that Melaka will not emphasize too much on the Malaysia Cup.
“Melaka are currently in the relegation zone and their main objective is to remain in the Super League next season. I believe that they will do whatever it takes to avoid drop.
“My boys will have to be cautious as Melaka have boosted their morale after the win against Kelantan. I think it will be a tough fight,” explained Nizham.
The Hijau Kuning are now third in the 12-team Super League standings with 24 points on equal points with second-placed Pahang – who are with a superior goal difference – after 14 matches.
While the Mousedeers – who are now 11th and tied on 12 points with 10th-placed PKNS – (is) expected to be all out to leap their way out of the danger zone. – BY ALVIN OH