Durakovic stands by Shahrom after latest blunder for Perak

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Goal
Mehmet Durakovic is looking forward to an exciting clash in Johor Bahru as Perak look to reach Malaysia Cup final.

Perak put up a sprited fight but were unable to stop Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) from gaining a valuable away goal in the first leg of their Malaysia Cup semi-final encounter in Ipoh on Sunday.

The Bos Gaurus took an early lead in the first half when the inexperienced Hasbullah Abu Bakar scored an own goal in a period where JDT were starting to dominate the state of play at Perak Stadium.

In an exciting match, both teams put Hafizul Hakim and Izham Tarmizi to the test with the match threatening to go either way. However, a mistake, this time from Perak's Shahrom Kalam allowed Mohammed Ghaddar to grab an equaliser for JDT.

Perak's head coach, Mehmet Durakovic like his JDT counterpart, did not want to lay the blame on specific players. Durakovic went on to defend Shahrom and that he still retains a trust in his captain despite the mistake.

"It happens in football. We all make mistakes. JDT are a very good side but tonight [Sunday], the way we play, we matched them. We didn't have five players but all around it was a fair result. They made one mistake and we made one mistake. It would have been nice to win in front of fantastic support. I'm very happy with the commitment of the players who gave 100%." 

"We will sit down and have a nice recovery. Then tomorrow we'll how everybody is and we'll talk about it. Shahrom Kalam is fantastic player and person. He's my captain and he's a leader on and off the park. He'll get on with it. I don't blame nobody," said Durakovic after the match on Sunday.

With JDT holding a vital away goal, Perak have no choice but to score in the second leg at Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium this coming Saturday. But Durakovic is relishing playing in Johor Bahru instead of worrying about the crowd or atmosphere. 

The Australian is also keeping his fingers crossed that some of the players that missed out in the first leg, can recover sufficiently for what is a tougher match in the second leg.

"The away goal is not nice but we go back to the drawing board, we'll have recovery, training and then we'll plan. It's not easy in Larkin with their supporters there. But that's nice because as a coach and as a player, you want to play like that every week. Hopefully some of the players will come back next week. Maybe Leo [Leandro Dos Santos]," added Durakovic.

Having Leandro back would definitely add steel to Perak midfield, although Kenny Pallraj and Shahrul Saad did a commendable job in last night's action at Perak Stadium.

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