Red Eagles skipper stays grounded despite Tai Po win

While Kedah fans are raving about their team’s 5-1 victory over Tai Po in the second preliminary round of the AFC Champions League qualification, one player has his feet planted firmly on the ground.

Captain Baddrol Bakhtiar (pic) has told the reigning FA Cup champions to forget the win and focus on their next target.

While some players are sharing their joy on social media, the skipper knows it will be no easy task against FC Seoul of South Korea in the final preliminary round match on Jan 28.

“The big win is a motivation for us before the Seoul game. However, it is time to forget that win, and start focusing on our next opponents, ” said the 31-year-old, who made his debut in the continental stage 12 years, when he played in the AFC Cup.

“Based on what I have seen so far, Seoul have got quality, and we all know how strong Korean League teams are. Many of their players have played in Malaysia, and we can see their quality.”

To prepare for the game, Seoul have played Bundesliga giants VfL Wolfsburg (1-1) and Swiss Club Servette (1-2) as part of their pre-season preparations.

Last year, the club finished third in the Korean League 1 with 56 points. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors were champions with 79 points.

The team coached by former South Korean international Choi Yong-soo, who played in the 1998 and 2002 World Cup, boast players like Spanish midfielder Osmar Barba, former Arsenal striker and South Korea star Park Chu-young, Serbian international Aleksandar Pesic and Korean international Ju Se-jong.

According to Baddrol, Seoul rely on pace and tactical discipline.

“They are very organised. One will expect Seoul to have most of the ball possession, so as a team, we have to be tight with our play.

“Weather will also be a factor, so we have to adapt quickly. This season, we have several quality players, so we are all on our toes –including myself.”

Baddrol assured his fans that the team would give their all against Seoul, even though the odds are against them.

As for the new Super League season, the playmaker believes that the Red Eagles’ chemistry is at 70% but will reach 100% when the league starts.

“The harmony is there, the bonding is good but we have work to do, and we all know that. For me, the aim for this season is to ensure that our performances remain consistent.

“The aim is to focus game-by-game and see where it takes us.”

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