MALAYSIA CUP: Club discovers money can't buy quick success
DARUL Takzim learned it the hard way that money can't buy success in the Malaysia Cup.
Kelantan overturned a 4-2 defeat in the quarter-final first leg in Johor Baru by hammering Darul Takzim 6-1 in Kota Baru on Saturday for an 8-5 aggregate win.
Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak now believes his team can go all the way into the final and retain their title.
"We played near perfect football. I do not have anything negative to say as my players gave their best performance yesterday (Saturday). Our midfield and attack were superb but we need to defend better," said Hodak when contacted in Kota Baru yesterday.
Despite being linked with Penang and T-Team for the new season, Hodak is determined to part ways with Kelantan on a high note and wants to reward the fans with the Malaysia Cup.
"I believe the defeat in the first leg made my players more motivated and confident. I noticed these attributes in training before the match. They were giving 110 per cent in training and gave even more in the return leg.
"We perfected our attacking options in training and also worked on a strategy to stop Darul Takzim. We knew they were excellent in set-pieces and I instructed my players not to commit fouls near our penalty box."
The 42-year-old said Kelantan will win the title if they continue to play aggressive football.
"My players did not get tired and continued to attack Darul Takzim. It was a highly entertaining match but the fans here also attributed to our impressive performance.
"We are very strong at home and most teams do not like playing us here. Darul Takzim did not handle the situation too well and as a result were netted six times," said Hodak.
Kelantan captain Badhri Radzi and Norfarhan Muhd were in their element on Saturday but despite being consistent throughout the season, the duo are not being considered for the national team's campaign in the upcoming Asian Cup Qualifiers.
"Norfarhan and Badhri were exceptional but the latter only plays well at home. He was not too effective in the first leg but did well yesterday (Saturday). I think the stadium here motivates him," said Hodak.
Often being compared to Darul Takzim midfielder Safiq Rahim, who is also the national captain, Badhri has not earned many international caps.
"Badhri and Safiq are two different players with quality. Safiq did well in Johor Bahru but had a bad game in Kota Baru. Badhri is also the same," he said.
Hodak hopes his players will continue to focus and not get overconfident ahead of the two-leg semi-finals against Armed Forces on Oct 18 and 25.
"Kelantan and Forces are the two best teams in the competition. Forces are powerful in all departments and well-organised. It will be a tough match and we cannot afford to make many mistakes," Hodak added.