BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
Terengganu still have plenty to fight for in the FA Cup after coming out of the away first leg with only a 1-0 defeat to Kedah. With a home tie to come and only one goal separating the two side, it still remains possible for either side to reach the final.
Terengganu's Adib Aizuddin was shown his second yellow card of the match in the second half, leaving the Turtles to brave the final 10 minutes of normal time with only 10 men. Kedah dominated the match with Liridon Krasniqi and Akram Mahinan controlling matters in the middle of the pitch and it was area that Terengganu's coach Irfan Bakti said his team suffered the most.
"What we saw is that we couldn't control the midfield area. The local boys we have there lost physically. There's still another 90 mins in KT and that'll decide if we reach the final," said Irfan after the match in an interview with the host broadcaster.
Irfan's relatively positivity regarding the second leg stems from the fact that his key man Lutfulla Turaev will be available in the return leg having sat out Sunday's game on a suspension. The Uzbekistan midfielder was sorely missed in the first leg and without him, Terengganu was handicapped going forward.
"Lutfulla will be back. I'm still confident that my team can go further. [Of his midfielders in the first leg] Poor distribution of ball, ball possession and afraid to hold on to the ball. Lutfulla is a big miss in that regard," added Irfan.
The Turtles' star forward, Issey Nakajima was slightly more peeved than his coach when spoken to after that match. The Canadian was involved in a bit of controntation with Fitri Omar as the game got heated up and questioned the referee's decision not to punish the Kedah player.
"It's just part of the game, we're just passionate for the game. But now, there's 6 referees involved so they should be able to see what's going on. Whether it's a slap or a head-butt, when you raise your arm - you're not allowed to do this. This is FIFA ruling. I'm surprised they don't see these things. I'm sure the replays will show some foul play and referees didn't call this," said Nakajima.
However, Nakajima like his coach isn't unduly worried about the result as it still falls within one of their targets to achieve for the first leg.
"This was our plan B. Plan A was to get a draw here and plan B was to limit the number of goals - and we'll beat them at thome," added Nakajima.
With Turaev back in the service zone for the second leg, Nakajima could be a far bigger threat than he was at Darul Aman Stadium on Sunday night.