Durakovic keeps Perak grounded after pre-season high

Perak coach Mehmet Durakovic is not getting carried away by his men’s impressive display in the pre-season.

The Seladang beat FA Cup winners Kedah 3-1 in their friendly – the second edition of the Unity Shield game – at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh on Saturday.

Perak’s goals were scored by skipper Shahrul Saad (fourth minute), Shahrel Fikri Mohd Fauzi (42nd) and Careca (77th), while Kpah Sherman netted Kedah’s consolation (68th).

Durakovic’s men started their pre-season with a 0-2 loss to Premier League side Penang (Jan 28) but bounced back in their Tour of Singapore with a 1-1 draw against Balestier Khalsa (Feb 6) and a 4-0 win over Geylang International (Feb 9).

It’s a good sign for the Silver State, who had lost their prized midfielder Brendan Gan to Selangor. They also had a slow transfer window and were the target of their angry fans’ bitter criticism.

And Durakovic is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

“I’m very pleased with the team’s performance, they did well against Kedah. It was a tough match as they gave us a good challenge… overall, it was a good game for us, ” said Durakovic.

“We still have a long way to go and this is just the pre-season. We have a young team this time and everyone gave their 100% to stick to our game plan.”

He added that his third-choice goalkeeper Nasrullah Aziz did well in the absence of the first and second-choice custodians Hafizul Hakim and Khairul Amri Salehuddin, who are out injured.

“Nasrullah played well and we did good as a team too, even the substitutes did well.”

Last season, Perak finished fifth in the 12-team Super League, emerged runners-up in the FA Cup and reached the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Cup.

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