Sarawak face high riding Kelantan at Kota Bharu for the first game of the FA Cup.

Kelantan is playing well in the Malaysia Super League (MSL), but the FA Cup may give them an entirely different challenge.  While the team popular known as the Red Warriors is considered strong on the field, serious rifts in the management have surfaced with their head coach Peter Butler said to be given the ultimatum by the Kelantan FA over his outburst on player selection.

Nonetheless, Kelantan does boast of several national players with Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, and national goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat surely to start for the homester. Despite that, the off-field events involving Peter Butler, the Kelantan management and Onyekachi Nwoha may just be the distraction Sarawak needs to keep these players at bay, and hence steal a massive draw.

The visiting team comes to Kota Bharu with a draw in mind, and is expected to play possesion football to absorb Kelantan’s desire to win. Ravindran is expected to partner Muratovic for this match as Robert Alberts continues to tinker with his striking options.

In midfield, Guy Bwele, Azizan Saperi, K Rajan and Rashid Aya looks definite to start, as Alberts looks to Ashri Chuchu as a possible substitute if Kelantan shows signs of being complacent. The defence will also probably see Hairol Motktar returning as captain and main organizer of the Sarawak defence, with Sani Anuar again trusted behind the sticks.

The game is expected to be one sided with Kelantan favorites to advance to the next stage of the FA Cup. However, Sarawak has already proven that they are more than capable of troubling the ‘big teams’, and will look to ‘steal’ more than a draw when they play Kelantan.

The match is expected to be televised live over RTM TV1 at 8:45PM.

Prediction: Kelantan 3-1 Sarawak 

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