Aidil praises Kedah's winning desire, PKNP staff's commitment

Sports Regime
A storm hit Manjung just hours before the PKNP-Kedah match, but stopped in time to allow the encounter to take place.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Kedah head coach Aidil Sharin Sahak was happy with the performance of his charges, who produced a first leg Malaysia Cup quarter-final 2-1 win over home side PKNP FC on Tuesday.

In the match that initially looked to be in doubt due to a storm that thankfully ended just hours before kick-off, Yashir Pinto opened the scoring in the 37th minute with a wonderful rabona. But the visitors equalised just four minutes into the second half through Fernando Rodriguez' goal, before David Rowley struck with the winner in the 73rd minute.

Speaking in the post-match press conference, the Singaporean trainer praised the hosts for ensuring that the match could go on.

Coincidentally, the match is the only mid-week first leg quarter-final match, as three had been played last weekend. PKNP's final group match against Petaling Jaya City, that had initially been scheduled for last week had to be postponed to the weekend, which then required their first leg match match to be held on Tuesday.

"Praise Allah, although conditions looked bad [initially], with us almost switching off thinking the match was going to be postponed, the PKNP staff and stadium personnel worked hard to ensure the match could go on.

"We have to give them credit because they ensured that the game would happen. The pitch was good, everyone enjoyed the football. It was [a little] soggy when we went out for warm-up, but it was fine and both teams enjoyed the football," explained Aidil.

But he was ultimately most happy with the desire shown by his men, to win the encounter.

"Tonight we got what we wanted from a high-intensity game, PKNP are a physical side. We'd known coming here that they haven't lost at home in nine matches. But today my men were 100 per cent focused.  

"Today Khairul Helmi (centre back) played well after not playing a single game for four months due to his injury. Despite the high-intensity game, his partnership with Renan [Alves] was superb. The defence was superb. The match produced a very high level of football today.

"But there's the second leg now, although it's a home match. Anything can happen, even Barcelona have lost in the second leg. What's important is us; how we want to prepare for the return fixture, and how much the boys want to be in the semi-finals. We can't take it easy, we have to play to win," said the former Home United head coach. 

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Gol @diogoluis_santo menjadi pemisah suku akhir pertama. ‪. Advantage @officialjohor after first leg in Kuala Terengganu. . ‪#PialaMalaysia2019 #MalaysiaCup2019 ‬

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