Zaki expecting Negeri's quarter-final chances to be decided in Kedah clash


BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Negeri Sembilan finally collected their first points in the Malaysia Cup, and it happened in stunning fashion.

The Deer, who had lost all three of their first Malaysia Cup Group A matches, produced a shock 3-2 win at home in their matchday four encounter against group leaders Terengganu FC, who had won all of theirs.

The hosts raced to a 2-0 lead in Paroi inside the first six minutes through Ferris Danial's third-minute goal and Almir's sixth-minute penalty, but another penalty saw Lee Tuck pulling one back for the Turtles in the 36th-minute. Igoz Luiz widened the margin again in the 66th minute, pouncing first on a rebound, while Terengganu could only score one more goal, through Serhii Andrieiev's last-gasp strike.

Coincidentally, the matchday three clash between the two sides last weekend had ended in a win to Terengganu by the same scoreline.

The victory has also given the Deer their first competitive win after five matches.

Speaking to the press after the match, Negeri boss Zaki Sheikh Ahmad however remarked that he changed very little tactically in the match, with the difference being that his charges were more clinical in their finishing.

"My team played the same way they had in their previous matches, the only difference being they were able to hit the target tonight; scoring two goals in the first six minutes. Praise Allah. Previously they had been missing the target from not just inside the penalty box, but also from the six-yard box.

"But I didn't like the way they took their foot off the pedal towards the end. They shouldn't have tried parking the bus when the scoreline was 3-2, they must stay focused until the final whistle" he said.

Still in last place and four points adrift of the qualification zone, Zaki is confident of their chances, as long as they are able to continue their momentum against Kedah and PKNS FC in their two remaining group matches.

"God willing, we can still do it. We are separated with Kedah [in second place] by four points, while Terengganu are already on nine points.

"Our final group match against Kedah will likely decide our qualification, if Terengganu defeat them [on matchday five]," noted the experienced trainer.  

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