Under-fire Hafizul grateful for Durakovic, Perak teammates and family's support

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Sports Regime
Perak performed a stunning comeback in their second leg FA Cup semi-final match against Pahang on Saturday.


BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter


After a nightmare first leg in their FA Cup semi-final tie against Pahang, Perak goalkeeper Hafizul Hakim Khairul Nizam bounced back from the disappointment in the return fixture, keeping a clean sheet to help his side record a 4-3 win on aggregate, and to reach the final.

In the first leg in Kuantan, the Malaysia custodian let in a free kick taken from the opposition's half by Herold Goulon, to allow the match to finish 3-1, further attracting criticism for his average form this season.

But in the home fixture on Saturday, the Bos Gaurus' defence put in a solid shift against a misfiring Pahang, while Hafizul himself was a steadier pair of hands in between the sticks, and they performed a stunnning comeback to win the match 3-0.

Speaking in the post-match interview with the broadacster, the 26-year old goalkeeper emotionally remarked how the past week had been a difficult one for him.

"Praise Allah, the win only happened because of Him. I didn't expect it. I had to forget what had happened in the first leg because the team needed me. They told me they wanted me to play in this game.

"To be honest, it was a tough game for me and I had struggled throughout the week, I had suffered. But thanks to my family, Allah, friends and fans' support, we managed to produce a win tonight.

"In the early stages of the game, I ensured that my first catch or clearance was a firm one and that worked in my favour, although there were still minor errors," he explained.

Hafizul also thanked Perak boss Mehmet Durakovicc for constantly believing in him, despite his form.

"It's not easy for a coach to pick a player after the player has made many mistakes. I've made too many blunders that punished the team this season.

"But praise Allah, the coach still has trust in me and constantly motivates me and it is one of the factors for me staying at Perak until now," said the former Melaka United goalkeeper. 

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