Nicolas Anil highlights this weekend’s Malaysia Super League action with Kelantan’s crisis hogging the limelight while Selangor welcome back Indonesian duo.
With May set to be one of the most grueling months on the Malaysia Super League (MSL) calendar, all 12 teams will be bent on racking up as much points as possible to meet various targets.
League leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) will be shoo-ins to maintain or increase their four-point cushion, while more trouble brews at Kelantan FA this weekend.
FOX Sports Asia highlights the three main talking points ahead of Round 9 action.
How will Kelantan cope if Fajr really goes
The Red Warriors have been constantly plagued by various on and off field problems since the season start. They have already changed two coaches, and Fajr Ibrahim looks to be the third person to exit the club. The Syrian is reportedly frustrated with the lack of support he has received from officials and senior players, and also with the fact he has yet to win after three games.
If Fajr does tender his resignation before Kelantan’s home game against Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, his assistant Yusri Che Lah will take over. But it will also undo Fajr’s trust in youngsters, who have displayed their potential when fielded.
Will Yusri restore seniority to the team if he takes charge? And more importantly, can Kelantan find a way to win a league match for only the second time? The signs do not look encouraging at the moment.
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Stern test awaits Southern Tigers in Negeri Sembilan
The Southern Tigers were made to work hard for three points in their last two matches against Kelantan and Selangor.
It could be the same case when they travel to Negeri Sembilan on Saturday. The Jangs may be tied bottom with Kelantan, but showed grit to force Kedah to a 3-3 draw last Tuesday for a precious point.
Buoyed by home support and with a striker coming to form in N. Thanabalan, JDT will be anticipating another stern test. And they will have to do it without their midfield general Natxo Insa who was injured in the Selangor win. In defence, Fadhli Shas is also a doubt, so head coach Raul Longhi will have to reshuffle. The Argentine has already warned his team about Negeri’s work-rate, and they will have to mind his instructions against a team who is bent on scoring an upset.
Ilham and Evan boost for Selangor against PKNP
The Red Giants faithful would have never expected to see their team slumped in 10th after eight games. And they certainly would not have wanted Selangor to be without two of their Indonesian midfielders with matches in full swing. But the Selangor management were forced to release Ilham Armaiyn and Evan Dimas for the PSSI Anniversary Cup after an agreement with the Indonesia FA.
The duo are back for the home clash against PKNP FC, and they will be heavily counted upon to make a difference. Both players have yet to live up to expectations, and they need to step up quickly to prove their price tag.
Upfront, Selangor coach Nazliazmi Nasir could once again stick with the combination of Sean Selvaraj and Rufino Segovia to get the goals. Either way, the home fans trudging to Cheras Stadium on Sunday will expect nothing less than three points.