MSL Spicy Questions of the Round: Will Selangor relinquish title hope against Kelantan?

Darren Goon previews Round 20 of the Malaysian Super League by examining the key points of each fixture...

Will Terengganu collect their first clean sheet in five games?

Terengganu vs. Sime Darby | Tuesday June 17 | 8.45pm

Worryingly for Terengganu, the team that boasted one of the tightest defences in the league has shipped eight goals in their last two matches. On Tuesday they face a prolific Sime Darby attack that has made a habit of scoring four goals a game. It is not all doom and gloom for Terengganu, though, as Sime Darby tend to forget to pack their shooting boots when they travel, losing their last three away games and scoring only once. The Turtles will be encouraged by this profligacy, and could return to winning ways if Moustapha Dabo and Javier Estupinan continue their good partnership up front. 

Can ATM pull off another shock?

ATM vs. JDT | Tuesday June 17 | 8.45pm

ATM surprised everyone by holding their own against Pahang and Selangor, but new league leaders JDT may be a bridge too far. On Friday, Fabrice Noel caused many problems for Selangor’s defenders with his pace while Juan Arostegui provided the finishing touches, but their makeshift defence will find JDT’s attack too much to handle. Jorge Pereyra Diaz, in particular, will relish the opportunity to increase his goal tally after netting a hat-trick in his last game. He has already moved up to joint-third spot in the Golden Boot standings. Bojan Hodak may utilize his squad’s remarkable strength-in-depth to cope with the rigours of playing four games in ten days. 

Which national goalkeeper will come out on top?

Kelantan vs. Selangor | Tuesday June 17 | 8.45pm

Kelantan will make do without coach George Boateng (who is in England on urgent business) as they host a Selangor side raring to retake pole position in the Super League. Khairul Fahmi Che Mat was magnificent against Pahang on Saturday, and he may have an easier time against the visitors’ Paulo Rangel-less attack. Afiq Azmi did not impress against ATM, and he might be dropped in favour of Hazwan Bakri, who did well as a substitute. Meanwhile, Kelantan’s Khairul Izuan has scored in his last two home games – can he make it three? Selangor goalie Farizal Marlias will look to stop him and add to his impressive league-leading 10 clean sheets this season.

Can Sarawak avenge their 3-1 loss to Pahang last March?

Sarawak vs. Pahang | Tuesday June 17 | 8.45pm

Victory over Kelantan ended a winless run of four games, and Pahang will want to build on that confidence boost to close the gap with JDT and reignite their title challenge.  Wasteful in their 0-0 draw with the LionsXII, Sarawak will need to sharpen their attack, especially with S. Chanturu going a little off the boil. They will also be motivated with knowledge that, while the Elephants are tremendous at home, their away form is less than exemplary. After 2-2 draws in their last two away games, Pahang know they cannot afford to let more points slip away.

Will the Lions maul sorry PKNS?

PKNS vs. LionsXII | Tuesday June 17 | 8.45pm

PKNS sank deeper in the mire with a 2-0 loss to T-Team extending their winless run to six games. Five points from safety, they will need an immediate reversal of fortunes. However, despite having three foreign attackers on the payroll, none of them have scored for two months. The locals have picked up the slack, but it hasn’t been enough to stem the tide. The LionsXII have lost their last three away games, but will be feeling confident of reversing that trend if they can get their act together up front.

Can the Titans finally pick up an away win?

Perak vs. T-Team | Tuesday June 17 | 8.45pm

Perak’s bubble burst with a 4-0 demolition at Sime Darby on Saturday to drop them back into the relegation zone. Fortunately, they host the only team without an away win this season. T-Team have failed to carry on their impressive home form on to their travels, but they will need to start soon if they are to seal their spot in the 2015 Super League. Perak’s Marcos Tulio had a quiet game against Sime Darby, but expect him to supply the bullets for Milan Purovic and exciting youngster Mohd Norhakim Isa, who has three goals in four games.

(Photo Credit: Syahrul Azam Zahari @ www.asiana.my)