BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Although their FA Cup round two opponents Selangor are a top-tier outfit, Kelantan head coach Marko Kraljević has sounded out a warning to the visitors; they are in for a tough time in Kota Bharu on Tuesday.
Speaking in the post-match press conference of their Premier League encounter against Terengganu FC II on Friday, the German-Croat trainer remarked that his charges are just as eager as the Red Giants are to go far in the competition.
"It will be tough for them. They (Selangor) are in the Super League so they will be here to win the game, but no club come here will have an easy time. We are playing at home, and the boys always play better in Kota Bharu because of the home advantage.
"Selangor will have to travel here, so it will be tough for them while for us, a win and going through to the next round will be a bonus," said the former Kelantan player.
But Kraljević probably needs to work on his men's mental strength going into the match, judging from what he himself noted after the Terengganu II encounter.
In the match, they went in front in the 19th minute through Raul Tarragona's goal, but Zuasyraf Zulkiefle equalised just three minutes later, and the 1-1 scoreline stayed until the final whistle.
"This has happened three or four times; the boys are scared of going in front, of taking the lead, because they lack confidence. This happened against Sabah, against UiTM FC, and it has happened again today.
"They conceded the equaliser within three minutes (of taking the lead)! They get scared when taking the lead, they lack the mental strength to hold the ball for awhile before killing off the game with another goal. They need to toughen up," noted the 53-year old trainer.
The Red Warriors are now in ninth place in the second tier, two places above the relegation spot, separated by five points.
Out of the past five encounters between Selangor and Kelantan, four have been won by the Red Giants while the remaining match was won by the Red Warriors. However, their last encounter in the FA Cup, back in 2011, ended in a 5-1 second leg thumping of Selangor in Kota Bharu.
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