Having been drawn into the so-called Group of Death, can the Panthers spring a surprise or two against superior opponents?
Home Ground: City Stadium, Penang
Nickname: The Panthers
Premier League: 3rd
FA Cup: First Round
Last Season's Malaysia Cup: Did not participate
What happened in the league?
Newly-promoted Penang overhauled their squad and spent 10 rounds in the top two, but a series of poor performances saw Felda United overtake them for the final promotion place. Still, the 2013 FAM League champions met their target of qualifying for the Malaysia Cup and had the second-best home form in the league, behind Felda.
They are perceived as underdogs with no star players, a squad of Super League discards (coach K. Devan’s own words) especially after recruiting no less than eight players from the top division.
The underdog tag is not far from the truth. Penang surprised many as they consistently challenged for promotion, including wins over established sides like Negeri Sembilan and Kedah. However, they fell short against the eventual top two – PDRM and Felda.
Their ability to grind out victories even when they aren’t playing well. Penang won by a one-goal margin on seven occasions, the most of any Premier League side.
Penang can be inconsistent and sometimes lack direction and cohesion on the pitch. Injuries and inadequate defensive cover also meant that wingers Rafiuddin Roddin and Yong Kuong Yong has had to fill in at the back.
The player to watch
Lee Gil-Hoon was the highest-scoring midfielder in the Premier League with 15 goals. The Panthers often look to the South Korean for attacking inspiration, as he often single-handedly dragged the team to victory.
K. Devan’s long-ball tactics has earned much flak from Penang fans, who previously saw their team sweep to the 2013 FAM League title playing quick, passing football. So far, the ends have justified the means, but will these tactics work against Super League sides?
Group stage fixtures
Aug 13 – ATM (A)
Aug 19 – Kelantan (A)
Aug 22 – JDT (H)
Aug 26 – JDT (A)
Aug 29 – Kelantan (H)
Sep 2 – ATM (H)