Ghaddar and Piya – it felt like 2012/2013 again, didn’t it?
Remember the days of Mohammed Ghaddar running riot past Malaysian defenders, scoring goals and using his pace to even outsmart Kelantan’s continental rivals in the AFC Cup? Tonight, it must’ve felt like deja vu, as far as the Kelantan faithful are concerned. The pitch conditions weren’t ideal, but Ghaddar caused plenty of trouble with his movement, while Piya looked far from being a player that’s allegedly out of his depth these days. Some of the combination play between both men, especially in the second half, was incredible to say the least. But what makes them indispensable to this team – just like they were in 2012/2013 – is their willingness to work and continue pushing till the death. Piya was instrumental in almost all their offensive forays, while Ghaddar bagged a well-deserved hat-trick to cap off a superb night.
Is the ‘real’ Zaquan Adha looking to stand up?
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Zaquan Adha at his imperious best, but he certainly showed heavy glimpses of it against Kelantan earlier tonight. He was fielded on the right flank as usual, but there was an added sense of urgency to his performance tonight. Zaquan was eager to attack, every single time he was fed the ball and he was even responsible for some of Perak’s best goalscoring chances throughout the night. The former JDT II man showed tremendous understanding with Vladislav Mirchev as well, which is undoubtedly encouraging for Mehmet Durakovic and his coaching staff. That said, his constant desire to attack did leave Perak – and especially Amirul Azhan – vulnerable at times.
Morgaro Gomis continues to be Kelantan’s underrated force in midfield
The biggest concern over the departure of Brendan Gan wasn’t the fact that Kelantan had lost a defensive midfielder, but rather the fact that Kelantan had lost a defensive midfielder of his mould – one that’s not entirely common in the local football market. We’ve seen Brendan’s absence affect the national team, we’ve seen it affect the Red Warriors in the past. But in Morgaro Gomis, Kelantan seem to have found someone capable of getting the job done. His industrious performances – just like the way he performed tonight – have largely gone unnoticed but tonight was a timely reminder of his value to the team. As Perak upped the tempo in the second half and pushed for a winner, Gomis’ hardwork and willingness to dive into tackles and make interceptions was ridiculously crucial.
Game over for Shahrom-Thiago partnership?
When it was first announced that Shahrom Kalam would be returning to Perak, you could almost feel the sense of excitement amongst Perak fans. And you couldn’t blame them either. The sheer thought of getting him paired up with Thiago Aquino was mouthwatering enough but truth be told, it hasn’t lived up to its hype. On one hand, you could argue that a defensive partnership understandably needs time, but on the other hand, you could argue that they don’t seem to have the chemistry needed to exist and function as a unit. At this juncture, you can’t help but wonder if it’ll be wiser for Durakovic to get Shahrul Saad back into the starting eleven. Sure, he can be shaky at times. But he did form a decent partnership with Thiago last year – one that Perak desperately need at this point.
Zahasmi Ismail is EXACTLY what Kelantan football needs and deserves
There are few good guys in football these days, but every single individual who has worked with Zahasmi Ismail will tell you he’s a gem of a human being as well as a football coach. And at a point where Kelantan are struggling for form on the pitch, and identity off the pitch, he’s exactly the sort of individual they need. As a former Kelantan player himself, Zahasmi has seen the club rise and fall over the three decades or so, but even he will admit the last few years have been tough – it was written all over his face as he broke into tears after the win over Perak tonight. It’s not going to get any easier though. They’ve got to get their finances – arguably their biggest issue at this point – in order. They’ve also got to fix several issues within the team, especially their form at home. But in the midst of everything the club is going through, if there’s one man who can be trusted with safeguarding and spearheading their ‘on-pitch aspirations’, it’s Zahasmi.