Friday, March 06, 2009


Kelantan missing key players for vital FA Cup clash

KELANTAN are hot on and off the pitch for the wrong reasons and it does not augur well for their coach Peter Butler as he prepares his team for the crucial FA Cup quarter-final second leg encounter against UPB-MyTeam in Kota Baru on Saturday.

Kelantan's unruly fans are not Butler's concern but not having two key players for the match worries the coach.

Goalkeeper Halim Napi was red-carded in Kelantan's 3-0 loss to Selangor in a Super League match last Saturday, while centreback Ahmad Azlan Zainal was sent off in Tuesday's 1-1 draw against MyTeam in the FA Cup quarter-final first leg.

Butler said his charges will need to be more disciplined on the pitch as of late it has cost them dearly.

"It's all about good discipline and I have to admit that Ahmad deserved the red card yesterday (Tuesday)," said Butler yesterday."However, I need to make some adjustments in defence but it should not be a problem as I have a few days to work on it.

"Goalkeeper Shahrizan Ismail also gave a good account of himself against MyTeam and he is an able replacement for Halim. He has the agility but needs more experience.

"On his team's chances in Kota Baru, Butler said Kelantan have always been strong at home."We have a slight advantage at home because of the fans. However, it's football and anything can happen. MyTeam are a solid team and their coach Bojan Hodak is an excellent tactician," said Butler.

"The strength of the team this season is teamwork. There are no stars in my team and I emphasise on getting my players going as a unit.

"Meanwhile, Hodak said his team will have an equal chance in Kota Baru.

"It's never easy playing there (Kota Baru) and I will need to tune my charges for it. Right now, my players are tired after playing seven matches in 18 days and a good rest will be the right medicine," said Hodak. --

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