Defending champions Pahang will be at home to Perak while Kedah entertains surprise package Felda United at the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Setar in the first-leg FA Cup semi-final matches on Saturday.
Pahang and Kedah are expected to clear their home hurdles but expect the unexpected in the FA Cup which is always full of surprises.
The focus will be at Kuantan’s Darul Makmur Stadium where the Elephants will have to be fully focused against Perak with the Bos Gauros strengthened with their new signings Ronaldo Henrique Silba (Ronaldo) and Raianderson Da Costa Morais (Careca). The two Brazilians have given Perak more bite up front.
Pahang too is counting on their new signing from Namibia Lazarus Kaimbi who has struck a fine partnership with Nigerian Dickson Nwakaeme. With naturalized Malaysian, Gambian-born Mohamadou Sumareh, Pahang has a deadly trio as possible match winners.
“We cannot afford to be distracted by Perak’s recent fine run in the league. This is the FA Cup and we need to be fully focused on winning at home and at the same time stop Perak from scoring away goals,” said Pahang head coach Dollah Salleh.
“I have faith in my team but we cannot let our guard down against a strong team like Perak.”
Perak head coach Mehmet Durakovic is also quietly confident that his new signings Ronaldo and Careca have given the team new found confidence to look for a positive result in Kuantan.
Over in Alor Setar, Kedah’s Singaporean coach Aidil Sharin Sahak has called on his Red Eagles not to underrate Felda although The Fighters are placed at the bottom of the 12-team Super League and doomed for relegation.
Felda goes into the match without three of their key pillars – Thiago Aquino and Masaki Watanabe (both suspended) while Singapore international Khairul Amri is kayoed by a hamstring injury.
Felda coach Nidzam Jamil is not giving up hope on springing a surprise in Alor Setar from his bunch of fighters, who are known for their fast counter attacks.
“We will do anything to get a positive result against Kedah although the odds are against us,” said Nidzam, adding that the absence of his three key players will not stop his team from doing the impossible.
In short, danger lurks for Pahang and Kedah in their own den. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH