MSL Spicy Questions of the Round: Will Selangor end JDT's title aspirations?

Craig Morraies previews Round 17 of the Malaysian Super League by examining the key points of each fixture...

Can Sarawak take the Bos Gaurus by the horns?

Perak vs Sarawak | Friday May 23 | 8.45pm

With four wins in the last five games, Sarawak are now sitting comfortably in the top half of the league table. However, their Friday match against Perak will not easy due to their rivals’ latest foreign signings, Abdulafees Abdulsalam and Milan Purovic, who have helped improve the team and will be the main attacking threats for the home side. Furthermore, Bujang Senang coach Robert Alberts has highlighted that Perak’s 12th man may have a say in the final outcome…

Will the Lions maul poor Gladiators?

LionsXII vs ATM | Saturday May 24 | 7.45pm

Fandi Ahmad will surely be disappointed to let a two-goal lead slip against his former team JDT in the midweek game, but he can at least take heart from the fact they played some fantastic football. With his side being eager to snap their losing run and bounce back in front of their Jalan Besar fans, who better to play against than their fellow strugglers, ATM?

Meanwhile, although his team should still be in a buoyant mood after a morale-boosting win over T-Team last week, B. Sathianathan is still left with a selection headache due to an injury crisis to his key players. Like many times this season, it could cost ATM again.

Will the absence of key players cost Pahang?

Pahang vs Terengganu | Saturday May 24 | 8.45pm

Besides playing for pride in this East Coast derby, it is a must-win game for Pahang and Terengganu. Both teams are slowly falling off the pace in the title race and cannot afford to drop more points if they want to stay in touch with league leaders Selangor. Terengganu only have two wins in their last seven league games, which should make Pahang the heavy favourites to win, but the Elephants will be without the services of Matias Conti and Hafiz Kamal, who all will miss the crucial tie due to suspension - they collected their third and six yellow card of the season respectively in the 2-2 draw with JDT.

Will JDT show their title credentials in Shah Alam?

Selangor vs JDT | Saturday May 24 | 8.45pm

The last league defeat Selangor suffered was a 4-1 trouncing by JDT in February. Since then, they have gone on an impressive unbeaten run to sit firmly at the top of the league table while JDT are lagging behind by five points. After all the money spent, JDT's game against the runaway leaders will be their biggest game of the season, as a defeat to Mehmet Durakovic’s side will most likely end their title challenge.

Under Bojan Hodak, the Southern Tigers have yet to be beaten, but a tough midweek game against the LionsXII might have taken a toll on his team and force the Croatian to rotate his squad. Aidil Zafuan, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Shakir Shaari are favourites to start – they did not start or were not named in the LionsXII game – to give Bojan some fresh legs, but Jorge Diaz is definitely a shoo-in to play. Having impressed in the past two games, the man on fire at the moment will prove to be a menace for the Red Giants.

Can the Red Warriors move closer to the pack?

 T-Team vs Kelantan | Saturday May 24 | 8.45pm

Once seemingly out of a top two finish, Kelantan now look more solid and fluid as they are unbeaten since George Boateng took over. This week, they will face T-Team to try to keep the good momentum going and catch up on the teams above them. In their East Coast neighbours, the Red Warriors should be sensing a real possibility of getting three points, as this season has not gone well for Azraai Khor’s struggling side.

Are PKNS missing Nazmi Faiz?

Sime Darby vs PKNS | Saturday May 24 | 8.45pm

Three straight league defeats have condemned Wan Jamak and his men into the relegation zone. They’ve been poor all season long, but since the departure of Nazmi Faiz to Selangor, there seems to be an extra lack of creativity in the midfield area as well as a serious lack of service to star striker Patrick Wleh. With six games remaining, the Red Ants have it all to do now if they want to save their season. Sime Darby, who are aiming to secure their top-flight status as soon as possible, should prove problematic for PKNS.

(Photo Credit: Zaid Ayid @ www.asiana.my)