Selangor Journal
Selangor FC beats Negeri Sembilan FC 2-0 at Petaling Jaya City Stadium in Kelana Jaya, on November 6, 2022. — Picture via FACEBOOK/SELANGOR FC

Turtles better be wary of Red Giants – Irfan Bakti

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — The Malaysia Cup 2022 semi-final between Selangor FC and Terengganu FC (TFC) is set to be an evenly contested tie although the Turtles won both their previous meetings in the Super League this season.

Kuching City FC head coach Irfan Bakti Abu Salim, however, said the Super League runners-up can forget about the two wins as the Malaysia Cup will be a different ball game, with the Red Giants having undergone a positive transformation under new head coach Tan Cheng Hoe.

He said that since former national team head coach Cheng Hoe took over Selangor at the end of September, the performance and playing style of the record 33-time Malaysia Cup champions had shown tremendous improvement.

“Lately, if we look at how Selangor have bounced back since Tan (Cheng Hoe) took over, the quality of their performance has improved and they have become a team capable of fighting for a place in the (Malaysia Cup) final. There has been a significant change to their playing style.

“They also have many players to choose from now that they are all injury-free. Terengganu cannot feel too comfortable after the two league wins or it may come back to haunt them. So, I feel that this semi-final will be 50-50,” he told Bernama when contacted today.

However, Irfan Bakti said that Selangor will face a tough task as Terengganu have proven to be a consistent side this season.

He said Terengganu’s advantage is their lethal strikeforce comprising nippy national winger Muhammad Faisal Abdul Halim, skipper Kipre Tchetche and Malaysia Cup top scorer Kpah Sherman.

“That is a slight advantage Terengganu hold and, if they want to repeat the two victories they’ve recorded against Selangor in the Super League, then they will have to work extra hard in the semi-final,” he said.

Selangor will welcome Terengganu in the semi-final, first-leg tie at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) Stadium tomorrow (November 16) before travelling to the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Gong Badak for the return leg on November 21.

In the Super League this season, Terengganu won both their clashes against Selangor 2-0, besides eliminating the Red Giants in the FA Cup semi-finals, which the Turtles won 4-2 on penalties after both teams were tied 1-1 in August.

However, Cheng Hoe is unbeaten in eight matches – six wins and two draws – since taking over as Selangor head coach.

The two sides last met in the semi-finals of the Malaysia Cup in 2011, with the Irfan Bakti-guided Terengganu triumphing 4-1 on aggregate that saw Manaf Mamat emerge as the hero by notching a hat-trick.

— Bernama

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