Key Battles: Kelantan vs Pahang

Goal Malaysia looks at the upcoming 2013 Malaysia Cup final between Kelantan and Pahang to highlight the key areas where the match will be played.

The glamour tie of the entire Malaysian football season, the 2013 Malaysia Cup final is bound to be a cracking one. Tickets for the final at Shah Alam Stadium goes on sale today and news are that, it’s selling like hot cakes (or in local flavour, like a hot “karipap”). Having gone through the entire season, many players will be looking forward to put on one final show to bring glory to their respective teams. Goal Malaysia looks at the potential clashes that would be defining the name to be inscribed onto the trophy.

The second top scorer in this competition with eight goals, Pahang’s Matias Conti is the man on form and unquestionably, the most dangerous attacker in Dollah Salleh’s team. Conti is at his best, sniffing out opportunities. His mobility is his biggest asset, add to that his intelligent movement, he is bound to be a handful for any defender. With the absence of Obinna Nwaneri at the heart of Kelantan’s defence, the onus is on senior defender like Azizi Matt Rose to step up and be in command. In the semifinal, Azizi conceded a lot of free-kicks on the edge of the box. But with the roaming Conti to deal with, the key will be for Azizi to pick and choose his tackles wisely.



Badhri Radzi or better known as Piya, showed during the semifinal that he’s once again, Kelantan’s talismanic leader. It was his goal that kick-started Kelantan’s comeback and it was an all-round inspiring display from Captain Marvel. His movement and ability to keep calm under pressure is a virtue very rarely found in local football. Amongst the more defensive minded midfielders in the Malaysian scene, Hafiz Kamal is probably the most cultured one of them all. His tenacity in trying to win back possession is aided by his impeccable reading of the game. The latter part, will probably enable him to keep track of Piya’s runs. Both players are often tasked with free-kick duties as well.



Another move that is necessitated by the absence of Nwaneri, Farisham Ismail is likely to slot back in at right-back with either Daudsu Jamaluddin or Zairol Fitree filling in at left-back. Farisham did well to keep Christie Jayaseelan under wraps in the second leg of the semifinal and will face a similar, albeit trickier opponent in the final. Other players have received plaudits for their contribution to Pahang’s run and R. Gopinathan’s efforts are often overlooked. The pacy winger is equally comfortable on either feet and this does help to confuse defenders, as they won’t know which way he wants to go. Pahang may have the slight edge in this particular battle.


The experienced Dollah Salleh is going for three out of three, having previously won the Malaysia Cup with unheralded MPPJ FC and then with Selangor. However this time around, Dollah’s side will start as the underdogs against the mighty Kelantan. It is dependent on how Dollah manages to get his young charges to keep their nerves for the final. As for Bojan Hodak, he will be looking for his second consecutive Malaysia Cup victory having overseen Kelantan’s win in last year’s final as well. His impending move away from Kelantan is probably the worst kept secret in Malaysian football and perhaps that could hamper his side a little. If Bojan can prove to his charges that he’s still 100 per cent committed to the team, then there’s no reason why Kelantan can’t justify their 'favourites' tag.

Follow Ooi Kin Fai on