PETALING JAYA: What was supposed to be a walk on a university park turned out to be an insult to an already injured Kedah team. They were held to a 1-1 draw by minnows Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in their Super League fixture at the UiTM Stadium on Wednesday.
What was worse, the Red Eagles even missed a penalty, which led to a fightback by the team made up largely of students.
All had been going according to Kedah’s plan when Liberian sensation Kpah Sherman scored in the 31st minute. He was going to seal the match with his second in the 60th minute but his penalty was well saved by UiTM goalkeeper Nor Haziq Aris.
That kickstarted UiTM’s comeback as Brazilian Gustavo Almeida chipped over Kedah’s goalkeeper Shahril Saa’ri after receiving a brilliant pass from midfielder Shafiq Al-Hafiz in the 82nd minute.
Getting a point off the defending FA Cup champions was an excellent achievement for a side filled with students, but UiTM coach Frank Bernhardt has reminded the boys to stay grounded.
“Kedah had a lot of great chances but fortunately for us, our keeper saved the penalty, ” said the German coach.
“We had our chances too and could have scored the winning goal but it’s good to have our first point. It’s a positive sign.
“We gave a great fight against JDT (UiTM lost 1-2), and today, we did the same thing. These are not easy fixtures for us. The players are tired now.”
Bernhardt believes Almeida, who constantly tormented Kedah centrebacks Renan Alves and Shakir Hamzah with his runs and dribbles, has found his touch.
“It is good to see Gustavo finally scoring after three games. I hope it will push him to score more in the future, ” said Bernhardt.
The university side will face Police at home on Sunday, and with the team in 11th with a point, Bernhardt wants to avoid relegation.
Meanwhile, Kedah coach Aidil Sharin is undoubtedly a man under pressure as his team have only collected a point from three games to be placed 10th in the league. They face Selangor tomorrow at the Darulaman Stadium.
“UiTM, at home, are always good because they have great fighting spirit, and the young players are eager to prove something.
“Right now, we have conceded six goals, and only scored four. The boys will have to be prepared for the Selangor match.”
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