Defender Dino Djulbic said Felda United always had the confidence and belief that they could overturn a two-goal deficit from the first leg to make the semifinals of the Malaysia Cup.
Felda trailed 3-1 going into Sunday night's second leg of the quarterfinals away to PKNP FC. But they stunned the hosts with a 4-1 victory to progress 5-4 on aggregate.
A brace from Wan Zack Haikal, plus goals from Ifedayo Olusegon and Zah Rahan Krangar gave the Fighters their most important win this season. It sets them up for a two-legged semifinal clash against holders Kedah on Oct. 13 and Oct. 20.
Felda's result was made more remarkable after they fell behind in the eighth minute to trail 4-1 on aggregate, but Djulbic says the team's focus never wavered.
"We knew we would come back, despite conceding early on. Our confidence was high, especially after we beat Kedah away in the league. After we scored the second goal, I think they gave up," Djulbic said.
Felda will face an in-form Kedah, who progressed to the last four after a 4-2 aggregate victory over Selangor. When asked about the challenge of face the team who have won the last two major domestic cups, Djulbic said the identity of their semifinal opponents was inconsequential.
"Our target from the start was to make the final, so it doesn't matter. We showed character that we could beat anyone, and complete our mission," Djulbic said.
Felda beat Felda 3-1 in the league on Sept. 20, with national winger Wan Zack Haikal also bagging a brace in that game.
B. Satiananthan's men have been in decent form overall, winning five of their last eight games.
Kedah will also be inspired to defend their title as they prepare to lose key imports Ken Ilso and Zac Anderson next season. The other semifinals sees Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT), winners of the last four Malaysia Super League (MSL) titles face Perak.
The Southern Tigers made the last four after a 5-2 aggregate triumph over Melaka United, while Perak overturned a 3-1 deficit against Pahang from the first leg to win 4-0 at home.
JDT have never won the Malaysia Cup since being rebranded in 2012. But this year they are showing an increased interest in the 2017 competition, despite fielding almost every member of their 22-man squad over the course of their campaign.
The first leg of the semifinals is on Sept. 13 and 14, while the second leg takes place on Sept. 20-21.