FourFourTwo writers pick the best performers from Round 17 of the 2014 Malaysian Super League!
Although his team did not win, ATM’s Syed Adney was still the standout goalie of the round. The LionsXII could have easily scored more goals if it was not for the Liverpool-born goalkeeper’s excellent display, blocking shots after shots to keep the score respectful.
Terengganu juggernaut Vincent Bikana continued his outstanding form of late against Pahang as the Cameroonian effortlessly neutralised Azamuddin Akil and Fauzi Roslan. With his immense presence at the heart of the defence, the Pahang players had to resort to long shots and set-pieces to create chances.
While all eyes were on Baihakki Khaizan who was making his second home debut for the LionsXII, Safuwan Baharudin quietly did his job to repel the Gladiators' attacks. The fact that his team's defence became vulnerable and conceded a goal after he was subbed off was a testament to the stand-in captain's performance and ability.
Playing against his former team Selangor and in front of the fans that used to cheer for him, Asraruddin Putra Omar managed to keep his act together and perform admirably. The left-back easily dealt with star performer Andik Vermansyah in the first half and demonstrated his attacking prowess with his forward runs and crosses.
Without a doubt, Ashaari Shamsuddin arguably had his best game in weeks in the Pahang game as he recorded two assists and scored a great goal after dribbling from the halfway line. On top of that, the Terengganu wing wizard forced Razman Roslan to get a second booking and sent off. The red card proved to be the turning point of the match because the Turtles controlled the tempo for the rest of the match.
Raihan Rahman returned from suspension to show what his team were missing against JDT. The young Singaporean gave a lot of bite in midfield and was not afraid to jump into 50/50 challenges, doing all the dirty work to free up the likes of Zulfahmi Arifin and Gabriel Quak to attack the Gladiators.
When a team retains 65% of total possession, it usually means its midfield fulcrum has a field day – which Nasir Basharudin actually did against Sarawak. The Perak captain dictated the ball well and was not afraid to play clever through balls and cross-field passes.
Jorge Pereyra Diaz has seemingly settled in Malaysia as he played yet another fine game for JDT. The Argentine was a constant thorn in the Red Giants’ defence with his direct runs and good positioning. So, it was no surprise to guess who set up Luciano Figueroa to lightly lob the ball past Selangor goalie Farizal Marlias...
We at the FFT Tower are confused: does the new Terengganu striker actually go by the name of Javier Romero or Javier Estupinan? Heck, it does not matter, as the Colombian let his football do the talking. And against the Elephants, besides scoring the first goal, he rendered their centre-backs speechless with his strength and jumping ability.
Similarly, Milan Purovic of Perak showed that body strength is essential. In his side’s 4-1 hammering of Sarawak, the Montenegrin striker easily brushed aside Hairol Mokhtar and Junior Eldstal to help himself to a goal and an assist.
He may be the shortest of Sime Darby’s front three in the Klang Valley derby against PKNS, but Nazrul Kamaruzaman showed that the smallest ones bark the loudest. With the Red Ants defence focusing on the bigger Mateo Roskam and Fadzli Saari, Nazrul was left unmarked most of the time, allowing him to grab a goal and an assist.