Kedah failed to collect the all wanted 3 points and qualify to the next round. 20, 000 fans filling the Darulaman Stadium last night were left dissapointed by the former double treble champions. They have only themselves to blame for playing porrly despite needing a win.
The Game Plan
Kedah started with a very dynamic 4-4-2 . This formation is easily convertible to a 3-4-3 when the fullbacks push up the field and Amar Rohidan dropped deep in between the defender to form a three man defense. Fikry and Sabree provided width upfront for the canaries by staying very wide. While Khyril Muhymeen and Faizal Abu Bakar playing a target center forward by roaming along Perak’s back four.
The formation clearly shows the game plan of Wan Jamak. He wanted to number up in the final third and along the flank. Four players (Fikry, Khyril, Faizal and Sabre) running trough the Perak’s defend to cause trouble. While Thiru and Shafizan provided cover behind the wingers. He wanted to attack trough the flank and stop any counter attacking threat from the flank ,early, by pushing both full backs forward.
However, having numerical advantage upfront and at the defense, Kedah was outplayed in midfield area. Often it was down to Badrol Bakhtiar alone to create and he failed miserably. Badrol had only his fullbacks alongside him to link up play. There was a big gap between the midfield and attacker. This only invited Kedah to play silly long ball and expect for defensive errors from Perak.
Perak on the other hand played pretty much a second string team.While 6 players are suspended, Perak rested their key defenders Khairi Zainudin, Chan Wing Hong and winger Rafiudin Roddin. They played a deep defending 4-4-2 with the pace of Safiq Jamal and Failee causing trouble for the canaries.
The young defenders of Perak was impressive , they were hardly beatable trough the middle. Even when Kedah strikers found a way to beat Perak’s defend, they were often forced to the wide side. Khyril Muhymeen found a way trough, but quick cover from Perak’s defend forced him to retreat from shooting.
This match became very interesting for its for its controversies. Kedah had two goals disallowed in the first half. The first goal was from a free kick converted by Badrol Bakhtiar. The ball went into the back of the net without touching Khyril who was in an offside position.However, rule of FIFA states that players interfering with the play from an offside position should be called offside. The linesman was right to call it disallowed. From a logical view, the ball was travelling very slow, and if Kyril was not standing there, the goalkeeper surely will have his hand on it.
The second disallowed goal was somehow invited more controversy. Sabree went in for a fair challenge against the goalkeeper from a corner. In any other play, this will be considered a 50-50 challenge and advantage will be given. However, be noted that in set pieces and corner kicks, goalkeepers are often protected. A slight foul on keeper is considered a foul.Hence the official was right again to disallow the goal.
It was shameful to see how Kedahans reacted after that. Protesting the refree is one thing, but accusing him on being bribed on live telecast is unethical. Badrol showed the money sign to the bench which was broadcasted nationwide. The rest of the second half was taken away from Kedah players when they seemed to be frustrated to go for the win.
Wan Jamak saw the numerical advantage in midfield. He has no point to defend with numbers because Sabah scored against Johor at Larkin. He pushed Amar Rohidan further up to help Badrol with the attack. This change seemed to pay of with Kedah having a firm grip at the game. They passed they ball and linked up with each other well. However , leaving a two man defense caused Kedah, when Amar Rohidan was caught up in attack and failed to cover the defense. Shafiq Jamal, a Kedah born player , scored Peraks only goal.
Kedah looked spirited as they scored a reply in 3 minutes from a corner. However the level of motivation shown by the canaries was not enough. They were not decisive in attack. They are not build mentally to spark a comeback form the first goal.
Wan Jamak At Fault
The overall structure of Kedah was ridiculous. The main point would the placing of Sabree Abu in the wing. The defender who is not a dribbler nor a crosser played in the right wing ineffectively. The young winger Wan Asyraf showed more trickery than Sabree. Wan Jamak could also used Thiru as fullback to attck the right flank while putting an extra man in the midfield.
The second half change to move Amar Rohidan further was spot on. However, leaving two man in defense is suicide. The fullback should have been retreated to defend much more deeper.He also depended too much from Badrol to create miracle. One of either Faizal or Khyril should dropped deeper to assist Badrol.
His comments about the Johor game and the referee controversies are also shameful. Surely we don’t want a Mourinho in Malaysian football.
Kedah was rightfully kickout of the tournament. They showed no hunger to win , despite needing a win badly. Badrol played a great game individually but failed as a team. He couldnt break the solid Perak defend. The Kedahans lacked creativity , or one could say have no creativity at all. Wacthing Selangor create a a comeback from similar 1-0 early goal, it is evident that Kedah player are lacking the motivationdo suceed.
Kedah need fresh players, particularly a creative Attacking midfielder. Badrol alone is not enough for the notherners. Kedah can now relax at home, watching the other teams play, and learn from them.