BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
On Sunday, Kedah will entertain the visit of Premier League side Terengganu in the first leg of their FA Cup semi-final tie at the Darul Aman Stadium.
Although the hosts play in the higher tier than the visitors, their current form has been disappointing, having picked up only one win in their past five matches, and two draws and two defeats across all competitions.
The visitors meanwhile have recorded three wins, one draw and one defeat.
Tan Cheng Hoe's men have cruised through the competition, defeating Kuala Lumpur, Perak and PKNP FC en route to the semis, while Irfan Bakti Abu Salim's charges have had to overcome Super League sides T-Team and Sarawak, as well as Felcra FC, in order to reach this stage.
However, the East Coast outfit need to still be wary of the home side, as Kedah are formidable at home this season. Out of seven matches that they have played at home this season, they have won six and drawn one.
Fortunately for them, their away record this season too has been commendable; five wins and two defeats.
Their head-to-head record however favours the Red Eagles, who have won three out their past five encounters. Terengganu have won one, with the remaining match ending in a draw.
Kedah's key man Baddrol Bakhtiar told Berita Harian that not only the match is important for them in terms of cup glory, but it will also serve as an opportunity to recover their overall form.
He said that Kedah's attackers need to be more clinical in front of the goal on Sunday.
"I hope we will be more clinical in front of the goal, and we certainly need to be more focused and concentrate harder, as the FA Cup semi-final match will definitely be a lot closer," said the Malaysia international.
Irfan meanwhile has dismissed the favourites and underdogs tags in the tie.
Irfan Bakti Abu Salim. Photo by Zam Zainal/www.asiana.my
“There are no favourites when it comes to the FA Cup. We are going on equal terms and if we can get an away goal then we should be in the driver’s seat for the return leg in Kuala Terengganu.
“We have been doing well and should give our Super League opponents a run for their money,” Irfan told The Star.
Kedah are expected to have all their key players available in the match including Rizal Ghazali, who is still serving his league suspension, while Terengganu will be without midfielders Abdul Latiff Suhaimi and Lutfulla Turaev who are suspended.