BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
This Saturday, Pahang will face Kedah in the 2017 FA Cup final, with both sides having vanquished the challenges of Premier League sides Negeri Sembilan and Terengganu respectively in the semi-final stage.
The two teams have met once this season, in the Super League, with the Red Eagles thumping the Tok Gajah 4-1 at home; the Darul Aman Stadium back in February.
But Saturday's match will be a different stage altogether, with an AFC Cup spot at stake, apart from the prize money and the bragging rights.
In its current iteration, there are only two cup competitions contested in Malaysian football (excluding the season opener charity trophy); the FA Cup and the Malaysia Cup.
Pahang's 10 latest forays in cup finals went all the way back to 1984; three in the FA Cup with the remaining in Malaysia Cup, while Kedah's went back to 1990; two in FA Cup and eight in the other competition.
But out of their 10 final appearances each, they have only faced each other once; in the 1992 Malaysia Cup final at the Stadium Merdeka; which the Elephants won 1-0.
Interestingly, both sides have met the same club the most in these 10 final matches; Selangor. Pahang have played the Red Giants three times; losing all, while Kedah too have taken Selangor on in three finals, but winning two of them.
The longest that Pahang had gone without a final match appearance was nine years; between their 1997 1-0 Malaysia Cup final defeat to Selangor, and their 4-2 penalty shootout FA Cup final win over Perlis in 2006.
For Kedah it was eight years; between their 1-0 win over Sarawak in the 1996 FA Cup final, and their 1-0 defeat to Perlis in the 2004 Malaysia Cup final.
Ultimately, the Elephants have won five and lost five of their 10 final appearances, while the Red Eagles' record is slightly better; six wins.
Both teams have played in two final matches that have had to be settled by penalty shootouts; but only Pahang have a perfect record. Kedah meanwhile have won one and lost one.
Kedah have one other curious record; although it does not happen in their past 10 final matches. They appeared in the 1987, 1988 and 1989 Malaysia Cup finals, every time against Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately, each time they lost to the City Boys.