BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
Perak were knocked out of the 2017 FA Cup when they succumbed to a 0-2 defeat to Kedah at Perak Stadium on Saturday night. Zachary Anderson and Ken Ilso popped up with the goals that was sufficient for Kedah to come out victorious in a hotly contested affair in Ipoh.
Perak's head coach, Mehmet Durakovic was defiant that his players stood up for the count but made errors that allowed the opponent to score.
"We gave them two chances and they scored two goals. It is not easy to come back. Overall, we made a couple of mistakes and we got punished. But I'm very happy with the fighting spirit of the players. Long season to go, let me get to know these players," said Durakovic.
Perak struggled to create much up front but neither keeper were put through a rigorous workout, thus in a way, the setup worked defensively for Durakovic as he went on to explain the game plan.
"No [we didn't get the tactics wrong]. I thought we did quite well, especially in the first half. We knew they love to play football so they can have all the possession they want in the back third. But in the middle third and up front, we're doing quite well," added Durakovic.
That said, Durakovic was unhappy in the lapses of concentration suffered by his players that proved costly. The game became a heated affair after the referee failed to exert his control on the match with strong tackles flying in all over the pitch. Tension rose on the pitch and it seemed like those from the Bos Gaurus side got affected more than the Red Eagles.
"We gave a freekick away and they scored from a set piece. We gave another ball away and they score from the cross. Two crosses, two goals. Not once but twice [players losing concentration]. I don't want to say nothing about the referee. I've got no comment to be honest. You all saw the game, nothing for me to say," lamented Durakovic.
Perak had to play the last 10 minutes plus stoppage time with just 10 men after Nazirul Naim went off injured but Durakovic had already made three changes. Despite being a man less, it was the home side who finally had better of the play during that period especially with the introduction of Ahmad Khairil Anuar.
"I think he has dislocated his shoulder. Unfortunately, he'll be out for a while. Not easy to play with 10 men. Kedah are a very good side," said Durakovic on the injury.
With the three weeks between now and Perak's next game, Durakovic will have the time to work with his players without any distraction as they concentrate their efforts back to the Super League.