By ERIC SAMUEL
PETALING JAYA: When Kelantan are down, they can always count on their fans to lift them up.
Tonight, the Red Warriors will be banking on their home fans to blow away moneybags and favourites Johor Darul Takzim in a Super League match at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru.
Last season, the fans were a huge source of inspiration. It was their unwavering support that helped Kelantan chalked up an unbeaten run of 27 matches en route to a historic treble.
They stretched their unbeaten run to 28 matches when they edged PKNS FC 2-1 at home last week in the new season’s opening match.
Coach Bojan Hodak’s team, however, suffered a big blow when they lost 1-0 to T-Team in Kuala Terengganu on Saturday.
Kelantan midfielder Indra Putra Mahayuddin believes the fans will help raise the team’s spirit for tonight’s encounter.
“We would not have won the treble last season without the fans’ overwhelming support. We are relying on them again to charge for honours this season,” said Indra.
Indra pointed out that Kelantan are still finding their way after losing five players, including prolific goal-getters Norshahrul Idlan Talaha to Johor DT and Mohd Ghaddar Mahmoud to Felda United.
“I am sure the fans are aware of the shortcomings in our team. It will take time for the team to adjust with the changes before we get back our rhythm.
“I have confidence in the team. We have not lost our shape and have the same players in the other departments. Given time I am sure we will be back at full strength,” said Indra.
Against Johor DT, Kelantan will again be banking on new signings Keita Mandjou of Guinea and T-Team’s Zairo Anuar Zailani to get the goals. They will be assisted by Mohd Norfarhan Mohd and Mohd Badhri Radzi.
There are some similarities in both Kelantan and Johor DT’s records this season.
Like Kelantan, Johor DT go into tonight’s match with one win and one loss. Both won their home matches but are poor travellers.
Johor DT were beaten 3-2 by in the first match but bounced back to edge nine-man Perak 1-0 at home on Saturday.
With both sides eager to make up lost ground, tonight’s match promises to be an enticing one. Fans will also get to see former Spain international Daniel Guiza, national stars Mohd Safee Sali, Norshahrul, Nurul Azwan, Mohd Zaquan Adha, Mohd Aidil Zafuan, Azmi Muslim and Muslim Ahmad in action for Johor DT.
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