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FOOTBALL: Felda thinking big

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AS Kelantan shift their attention to the AFC Cup, Felda United will quietly prepare for an ambush of the Super League and FA Cup champions in the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals.

Kelantan's busy schedule sees them travelling to Arbil for the AFC Cup quarter-finals first leg tomorrow before hosting the Iraqi champions in the second leg on Sept 25 ahead of the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals first leg three days later.

This could provide Felda with the chance to stage what could be the biggest upset of the tournament and their hope is further emboldened by their 1-0 win over Kelantan in the Super League on July 10, though that was just days after Kelantan had sealed the league title.

With injuries also roiling Kelantan, Felda midfielder Yong Kuong Yong believes that anything is possible in the knockout stage of the Malaysia Cup.

"It's the first time I will be playing in the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Cup and I'm really excited," said Kuong Yong, who narrowly missed out on the last eight with Kuala Lumpur last year.

"But playing Kelantan is always going to be tough. We have beaten them before, so there is always a chance. I hear they have a few players injured so that could work in our favour."

Felda will be without Juzaili Samion for the first leg in Malacca after the midfielder was sent off for a second booking in Friday's 1-1 draw with Negri Sembilan at Paroi which saw Felda finish second in Group C to make the quarter-finals for the second year running.

Kelantan left for Arbil yesterday on a high after mauling East Coast derby rivals Terengganu 6-1 to finish top of Group B but coach Bojan Hodak has a number of injury concerns.

S. Subramaniam, Mohammed Ghaddar and Rizal Fahmi Rosid were left behind to recover from injuries while Nigerian defender Obinna Nwaneri is suspended.

Also missing the trip are S. Chanturu, Indra Putra Mahayuddin and misfiring striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, who has been eclipsed by Afiq Azmi in the Malaysia Cup after the loan signing from KL took his tally in the tournament to four goals on Friday.

Kelantan's failure to register striker Keita Mandjou and Mijo Dadic for the AFC Cup leaves Kelantan to face Arbil with an all-local line-up.

"It is saddening to think that we are unable to send our best team to Iraq," said Kelantan FA president Tan Sri Annuar Musa in a Facebook posting. "We are carrying Malaysia's name but we are the ones being handicapped.

"All our hard work has been wasted. But on the 25th, we hope to field our strongest team against Arbil."

Meanwhile, Young Tigers A's aim of finishing in the S-League's top three suffered a blow after a 3-0 defeat to Home United at the Yishun Stadium on Saturday.

Frederic Mendy scored either side of half-time and Indra Sahdan Daud added a third in stoppage time to drop the Tigers to fifth place with six matches remaining.

Kelantan’s Mohd Afiq (front) is brought down by a Terengganu player in their Malaysia Cup match on Friday. Bernama pic


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