The Red Eagles ended their league season unbeaten in eight games, and they will need to maintain that momentum if they want to progress from a difficult group.
Home Ground: Darul Aman Stadium, Alor Setar
Nickname: The Red Eagles
Premier League: 4th
FA Cup: Quarter-finals
Last Season's Malaysia Cup: Group stages
What happened in the league?
Kedah had an unpredictable season. Wins over PDRM and Felda United were preceded by dropped points to DRB-Hicom and PBAPP. After losing five matches in the first half of the season, they finished strong by going unbeaten in eight games to consolidate the fourth spot and automatic qualification to the Malaysia Cup.
Kedah rely heavily on national team stars Baddrol Bakhtiar and Khyril Muhymeen for goals.
Baddrol and Khyril were not always available due to injury or suspension, but they were ably deputised for by Syazwan Zainon and Faizal Abu Bakar. They shared seven goals between them as well as numerous assists from the wings.
Kedah have powerful attacking ability down the flanks, swift counter-attacks, and two capable strikers to finish them off. They are also strong away from home, thrashing Perlis 6-1 and PBAPP 7-2, the latter the highest-scoring game of the season.
The Red Eagles’ defenders are prone to making occasional mistakes, letting a lead slip six times in the league and dropping 14 potential points. They also accumulated just four clean sheets in 22 games, despite conceding the second-lowest goals.
The player to watch
Billy Mehmet helped himself to 14 league goals as he expertly finished off his teammates crosses. Powerful in the air and equally dangerous from free-kicks, the Irishman has also recently enjoyed a good partnership with South Korean striker Woong Namkung.
Tan Cheng Hoe was thrown in to replace the “rested” David Mitchell for the second half of the season and saw his team lose just once in 11 games as they leapt from 6th to 4th.
Group stage fixtures
Aug 14 – Perak (A)
Aug 20 – Terengganu (H)
Aug 23 – Sarawak (A)
Aug 27 – Sarawak (H)
Aug 30 – Terengganu (A)
Sept 3 – Perak (H)