Kedah to stick with 'tiki-taka' football despite exit of coach Tan Cheng Hoe
Kedah interim coach Nidzam Adzha feels his team will have no problems maintaining their tiki-taka style of football, despite the departure of Tan Cheng Hoe after they earned a 1-0 lead in the first leg of the Malaysia FA Cup semifinals against Terengganu.
Sunday's victory, earned through a swing of the boot from Farhan Roslan in the second half, was Kedah's first success in five games.
It was a timely triumph in front of a capacity Darul Aman Stadium, in full support of a team beginning to adjust to life without Tan.
"The players showed their quality. They are familiar with our style of football, and will still perform in the same manner, despite the absence of Tan," Nidzam said.
"My only issue was that we only scored one goal despite dominating most parts. We did not let them score, but we should have scored more."
Tan officially left Kedah on Sunday after tendering his resignation a month ago to join the TMJ revolution at Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) as assistant national coach.
The came as a bitter blow to Kedah, who had flourished under the dapper coach's high-pressing, possession-based football.
Tan took Kedah to consecutive Malaysia Cup finals against Selangor, losing the 2015 edition before edging the 2016 showcase on penalties.
Kedah started the 2017 domestic season in blistering fashion, as they went on an unbeaten 12-game streak in all competitions.
But after Tan signalled his intention to move to the national squad, the team began to drop off the pace.
Meanwhile, Terengganu coach Irfan Bakti says the absence of playmaker Lutfulla Turaev affected his team's rhythm.
"Without him, we didn't have proper ball distribution. His absence really affected us in central midfield, as we were only operating with local midfielders," said Irfan.
"But this game is far from over. We still have another 90 minutes in Kuala Terengganu to turn this around, and we will go for it."
Pahang will be confident of easing their way into a first major final in three years after they overcame Premier League highflyers Negeri Sembilan 1-0 in Kuantan.
The second leg of the semifinals will take place on May 13, with the final at Shah Alam Stadium on May 20.
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.