Baddrol Bakhtiar hopes wonder goal will inspire Kedah in FA Cup semis
Still on a high after his wonder goal against Perak, Kedah captain Baddrol Bakhtiar is hoping it will rub off on his teammates when they welcome Terengganu in the first leg of the Malaysia FA Cup semifinals on Sunday.
Baddrol produced one of the strikes of the Malaysia Super League (MSL) season with a phenomenal 35-metre free kick in the 1-1 draw with Perak on Wednesday.
It lifted the team spirit that has apparently been lacking since Kedah coach Tan Cheng Hoe announced his intention to leave for the national team.
Baddrol, who has been a main feature under Tan, urged his side to build a healthy advantage against the Turtles in Alor Setar on Sunday.
"We want to bounce back. Being in the FA Cup semifinals is motivation enough for us to go out and get a win, and we must take full advantage of it," Baddrol told Berita Harian.
"One of our main concerns is finding the finishing touches in front of goal. But we have gelled well with each other, it's just that we have been struggling for goals in the last few games. Hopefully that will change on Sunday."
The Malaysia Cup champions have found the net only three times in their last four games after a blistering start to 2017, which saw them cruise through the first 12 matches unbeaten.
But their ambitions went off the boil after Tan was sought out by FAM's new Johor Crown Prince president to become assistant national boss, in recognition of his great work of guiding Kedah to the 2016 Malaysia Cup, while moulding them into a high-pressing, goal-laden unit.
The Canaries are favourites to win this first leg, but Terengganu will not be cowed after an impressive season of their own.
Irfan Bakti's side are very much in contention for promotion back to the top tier, sitting in second place in the Premier League.
The underdogs' tag will also suit them nicely ahead of this game, deemed as a bonus to many of their faithful.
Pahang will welcome Negeri Sembilan to Darul Makmur Stadium in the other semifinal, first leg, which also pits an MSL side against a team from the second tier.
Malaysia FA Cup semifinals (Sunday, 9 p.m.)
Pahang vs Negeri Sembilan
Kedah vs Terengganu
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.