MSL Spicy Questions of the Round: Will Perak and PKNS be relegated?

Darren Goon previews Round 21 of the Malaysian Super League by examining the key points of each fixture...

Can Kelantan throw another spanner in the works?

JDT vs. Kelantan | Friday June 20 | 8.45pm

Despite getting a shock defeat against ATM, JDT were let off the hook by Selangor’s loss on Tuesday to stay on top, but they know that the Super League title is theirs to lose. The Southern Tigers host Kelantan without suspended captain Aidil Zafuan, and their Argentinian forwards will want to make amends after failing to score for the first time in six matches. Buoyed by their win against Selangor, Kelantan are looking for another big scalp. Their in-form attack will be a test for JDT’s shaky defence, especially with Prince Tagoe and Francis Forkey Doe combining well with their wingers.

Will ATM pull off another big shock?

Terengganu vs. ATM | Friday June 20 | 8.45pm

Terengganu cannot stop leaking goals. Over the past six rounds, the Turtles conceded 13 as they gradually slipped out of contention for the league title. If there is any consolation, they have also scored the same amount of goals in that period, which bodes well as they prepare for the visit of the team with the second-worst defensive record in the league. ATM have seven points (out of a possible nine) from three consecutive games against the top three, a wholly-unexpected run of results that has lifted them two points clear of the relegation zone. Fabrice Noel has assisted his side’s last four goals, and he will look to combine with Juan Manuel Arostegui, who has three goals in three.

Can LionsXII motivate themselves for one final roar?

LionsXII vs. Perak | Saturday June 21 | 7.45pm

The Lions will not want to go out with a whimper. Limping to the finish line, they lost to PKNS, the team propping up the league, on Tuesday. Last season, the Jalan Besar Stadium was a fortress as the LionsXII romped to the title, and they will need to improve to save their blushes in the final home fixture of 2014. They face another relegation-threatened team in Perak, who will be more motivated to earn a victory and get themselves further up the table, with two games remaining.

Bye-bye Selangor PKNS?

Pahang vs. Selangor PKNS | Saturday June 21 | 8.45pm

Realistically out of the title race, the Elephants were frustrated by Sarawak in their last game, but will expect to come out on top in this clash against the league’s basement side. As an added incentive, they will look to sign off in front of their vociferous fans with a big win at the Darul Makmur Stadium. Matias Conti has scored two goals in as many games, and is likely to start alongside Dickson Nwakaeme to get the early advantage. PKNS shocked the LionsXII 2-1 a few days ago to end their 12-game winless run, but Pahang will probably be a bridge too far, and they take to the field knowing that defeat will relegate them to the Premier League.

Will Paulo Rangel’s return yield instant results for Selangor?

Selangor vs. Sarawak | Saturday June 21 | 8.45pm

The extent of Selangor’s dependency on Paulo Rangel was laid bare as they failed to score, or even collect a point, in the two games he had missed through suspension.  Fortunately for them, the Brazilian striker will be back against Sarawak, and the Red Giants urgently need him to hit the ground running as they bid to return to the top of the Super League. As for the Crocs, they will be without the suspended Ryan Griffiths, while Muamer Salibasic might join other absentees Gabor Gyepes, Lot Abu Hassan, and Hassan Mohamad on the treatment table.

Can the Titans finally earn an away win?

Sime Darby vs. T-Team | Saturday June 21 | 8.45pm

After letting their 1-0 lead slip against Perak in their last outing, T-Team remain the only side without an away win, and will be hoping to finally end that embarrassing run in their final away game of the season. However, they will be facing a high spirited Sime Darby side, who came back from two goals down to snatch a draw with Terengganu on Tuesday. Let alone winning the game, the Titans will be lucky if they can avoid getting hammered by the highest scorers at home in the league.

(Photo Credit: Khairul Zaman @ www.asiana.my)