PETALING JAYA: The roles have been reversed in the FA Cup semi-final return-leg between Sime Darby and Terengganu at Selayang Stadium tonight.
Defending champions Terengganu are trailing the club side after a shock 2-1 defeat in the first leg, which prompted the frustrated Turtles supporters to demand the resignation of FA president Datuk Che Mat Jusoh and head coach Mat Zan Mat Aris..
Despite the damning vitriol hurled by their own fans, the Turtles bounced back in style four days later by thrashing Vietnam’s Song Lam Nghe An 6-2 to seal their passage into the round of 16 in the AFC Cup.
The ever cool Mat Zan said Premier League side Sime Darby, who have the advantage of two away goals from the first leg, are the favourites now.
“We started as the favourites but the defeat at home has turned us into the underdogs. I think it’s a good thing as we are not under pressure anymore,” said Mat Zan.
“We had been under pressure with the fans voicing their dissatisfaction but our big win in the AFC Cup has silenced them and given my players confidence.”
The well-rested Turtles need to win by two clear goals if they are to qualify for the final but it won’t be an easy task as Sime Darby head coach Ismail Zakaria’s has said that he will take a defensive approach for the match.
Sime Darby will also be toothless upfront without their prolific striker Patrick ‘Ronaldinho’ Wleh who has to serve out a one-match suspension. To make matters worse, back-up striker Irme Mat is also suspended.
Mat Zan said he has plans to overcome Sime Darby’s “park the bus” tactic and said that Wleh’s absence gives them an advantage.
“I have read that Sime Darby intend to park the bus at the Selayang Stadium. It’s their strategy and we will have our own plans for them,” said the former international.
“Sime Darby are a tough nut to crack with their disciplined play, but Wleh’s suspension gives us an advantage as they have lost their main goal threat.
“We had a proper rest for the second leg and our first 11 are ready with the exception of Abdul Manaf Mamat and Shamsul Kamal Mohd, who have yet to recover from their injuries. I’m confident that we can make it to the final if our players do their best.”
- Don’t take Sime Darby lightly, coach warns Turtles
- Sime Darby beat Turtles, Kedah hold Kelantan to a draw
- Sime Darby FC rue missed chances in slim win
- Depleted Turtles defy the odds in Singapore to book semis ticket
- Turtles happy to get a win on unfamiliar artificial pitch