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FA Cup

Hafizul aiming for double success in tough Kuantan first leg

5:52 pm AEST 21/6/19
Hafizul Hakim, Perak v Terengganu FC, Malaysia Super League, 18 Jun 2019
The Perak custodian knows there will be a lot at stake when his team take on Pahang in the first leg of the FA Cup semi-final at Darul Makmur Stadium.

With the Super League all but sewn up by Johor Darul Ta'zim, the attention from all the other clubs turn towards the cup competitions. The 2019 Malaysia FA Cup enters the last four stage with Pahang taking on Perak and Kedah facing Felda United in the other semi-final.

Of the two matches on offer, the clash in Kuantan is undoubtedly the one which catches the attention given it is a match-up between the team who the Malaysia Cup last season against the team who is the reigning champions of the FA Cup.

The Elephants are aiming for a third successive appearance in the final of the competition but standing in their way are a resurgent Perak side who have won both their matches in the league after the early June international break, defeating PJ City FC and Terengganu FC respectively.

Perak's upward turn in fortunes has seen them move up to sixth in the league standings, just five points behind Pahang who are in second. In those two matches, one goalkeeper has also returned to the starting line-up after a short absence due to injury and Hafizul Hakim understands clearly what needs to be done on Saturday.

"Because we are playing away in the first leg, we know it won't be an easy match. As everyone is aware, Pahang are a very good team. What is important is that we try to get a goal there and keep a clean sheet as well because know the away goal counts at the end of the tie.

"So we'll follow the coach's tactical instructions and try our hardest to get that away goal," Hafizul told Goal.

The 26-year-old custodian who is also a Malaysian international will be facing a testing time in Kuantan with Dollah Salleh having the arsenal that are Dickson Nwakaeme, Lazarus Kaimbi, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Mohamadou Sumareh and Nor Azam Azih at his disposal.

But Mehmet Durakovic's side has shown that they are more than capable of shutting out the impressive Pahang team like they did on May 19 in a scoreless draw in the league campaign. A similar result would be a positive result for The Bos Gaurus to take back to the return leg in Ipoh but an away goal would help their cause even further.

Perak has not reached the final of the FA Cup for 14 years, the last time back in 2005 where they lost to Selangor in the final. Perak are the inaugural winners of the competition when it was first introduced into the domestic calendar way back in 1990 where they coincidentally also played Selangor in the final.


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