PREVIEW: Terengganu likely to nick semis win at home against Kedah

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Terengganu FA
Terengganu will be playing at home in the second leg of their FA Cup semi-final tie against Kedah, with their two key midfielders expected to return.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter


One of the two second leg FA Cup semi-final encounters that will take place this Saturday will be between Terengganu and Kedah, at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium, Kuala Terengganu.

The first leg match, played in Alor Star almost two weeks ago ended in a slim 1-0 win to the home side, thanks to young substitute Farhan Roslan's 70th minute goal.

In terms of recent form, both sides are not doing too well currently. Out of their five most recent matches in all competitions, the Turtles have won two, and lost three including the first leg defeat.

The Red Eagles are not doing any better themselves, having recorded one win (the semis first leg), two draws and two defeats.

But a clearer story becomes apparent when their performances are filtered through their home and away records. 

The home side have recorded three wins, one draw and one defeat in their five most recent home matches, while Saturday's visitors have only one win, two defeats and two draws in their last five away encounters.

According to their latest head-to-head record, Kedah have won four encounters with Terengganu only one. But out of their five latest matches in Kuala Terengganu, the Turtles and the Red Eagles have each won one encounter, with the remaining three ending in draws.

Although Terengganu boss Irfan Bakti Abu Salim will be without the service of defender Adib Aizuddin who was shown two yellow cards in the first leg, key midfielders Lutfulla Turaev and Abdul Latiff Suhaimi will return to the starting lineup, after serving one-match suspensions at Darul Aman. Ismail Faruqi Ashari and Ferris Danial too are expected to return from their injuries.

Latiff told Harian Metro that with his and Turaev's return, the home side should be able to neutralise the visitors' key strentgh; their passing in midfield.

"Kedah's strength is in the midfield, but that's the story of the first leg.

"Tomorrow evening (Saturday) we will stop their midfielders, as well as maintain our discipline in order to beat them," said the captain.

However, the Red Eagles too can expect the return of several of their key squad members. According to Harian Metro, star midfielder Liridon Krasniqi will return to the lineup after serving a one-match suspension in their league draw against PKNS FC on Tuesday, while Rizal Ghazali has completed a lengthy ban he incurred in their league match against T-Team FC last month.

Kedah's Rizal Ghazali (left) and PDRM's Fakhrul Aiman Sidid 2016

Rizal Ghazali (left). Photo by CSN

Kedah caretaker head coach Nidzam Adha told Sports247 that playing against the home side, he wants his men to keep their focus, especially when their lead is very slender. Against PKNS, they let slip a 3-1 lead at halftime, and the match ended 4-4

"We have a one-goal lead and the men know it is not safe yet. I don't want a repeat of what happened at the Shah Alam Stadium (against PKNS).

"I want them to show their commitment and give their full focus. Terengganu will give us a hard time, and will most definitely use their home advantage to overturn the deficit," said the former Kedah player. 

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