As expected, Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) will be fielding a string of young players against Kedah FA in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) on Friday after recently clinching their fifth consecutive league title.
The Southern Tigers locked in their latest league success after the 2-1 win over Perak FA on Tuesday, and with Kedah in quick succession, head coach Raul Longhi is expected to reshuffle his squad.
“The young JDT players are an asset to our squad, because we want to uphold our philosophy. I have high belief in our young players. They are the future of JDT with their strong mentality and positive aura to perform the best for the team,” Longhi told Berita Harian.
The Argentine coach is expected to face some resistance from Kedah, who are eager to bounce back from their 4-1 mauling at the hands of Melaka United FA on Tuesday.
The Red Eagles are also aiming to finish as runners-up behind the Southern Tigers.
Kedah are fourth, only a point behind second placed Perak heading into Friday’s clash.
Nidzam Adzha will most likely be without his influential playmaker Liridon Krasniqi for this match, so the onus will fall on Paulo Rangel to unlock the stern visitors defence.
The Malaysia Football League has meanwhile agreed to shift JDT’s home match against Kelantan FA on July 17, to July 20 to allow more fans to the Larkin Stadium to bask in their league title celebrations.
The league organisers made the decision in the spirit of fair play.
The fixture change means JDT and Kelantan play two matches in the span of four days.
After Kelantan, JDT will go on to face PKNP FC on July 23.
Kelantan, who are still battling for their top flight lives, will have little time to recover from the JDT excursions, as they travel to face Terengganu FC on the same day (July 23).
In other fixtures rescheduling, PKNP’s postponed match against Selangor on May 23 will take place on July 26.
Photo Credit: Johor DT