|FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Khalis Rifhan
Defending champions Kelantan FA are still without a win away from home after their 1-0 defeat to the LionsXII at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night, after Shahfiq Ghani struck two minutes before the end of regulation time to preserve the home side's perfect home record in the Malaysian Super League this term.
For Red Warriors coach Bojan Hodak, it was a match that he could not bear to sit through.
“This is one game that is not nice to watch," he said. "It was not only tactical but physical, with lots of fouls.
"In the end, we made one mistake and their substitutions made the difference in the match. Our new signing is simply not good enough.”
“Overall, they were the hungrier of the two towards the end. It is always like this for the home side. Whenever we play in Kota Bahru, the fans will give you extra help.”
Kelantan's performances this season have been a pale shade of their treble-winning season in 2012, and Hodak predicts a slow and painful season for his team.
“Although Fakri Saarani will join us in April, it will be very tough for us as the league is very short and every point is important," he said.
“Our problem is in the attack; we can hold the ball, but [we are] not sharp enough in the last area. According to the chances created, it was supposed to be a draw but it is in games like these that is won when one team makes a mistake.”
With Kelantan participating in the AFC Cup, Hodak feels that their midweek game against Maziya contributed to their loss.
“Those that I have rested for the AFC Cup match did well today but we are playing two games in three days, so it is a bit difficult for us," he explained. "It might have been different had we had one more day of rest.”
Kelantan drew 1-1 with the Maldivian club in the regional competition and will next travel to Yangon, Myanmar to take on Ayeyawady United at the Thuwunna Stadium on March 13.
The Malaysian Super League will take a two week break for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers and will resume at the end of the month.