FourFourTwo writers pick the best performers from Round 18 of the 2014 Malaysian Super League!
Selangor bounced back from their defeat to JDT in a spectacular fashion as they hammered Terengganu 4-1, which was made easier thanks to Farizal Marlias. The home team could have easily been in the lead if it was not for the Selangor goalkeeper, who withstood early pressure from Manaf Mamat and Zairo Anuar Zalani to keep his side in the game.
Dzulazlan Ibrahim had not started a league game for Sarawak since returning from his injury in March but showed no sign of rustiness from a lack of match fitness when he started against T-Team. The relatively young defender made light of the absence of Gabor Gyepes, Mafry Balang and Ramesh Lai to help his side keep a valuable clean sheet.
Following the (unfair?) dismissal of Paulo Rangel, Selangor captain Bunyamin Umar marshalled his backline well to weather the offensive onslaught from Terengganu, who threw everything forward including the kitchen sink but could only manage to score one goal.
Azmeer Yusof took full advantage of Perak’s superior ball possession against PKNS by constantly overlapping Hardi Jaafar to set up dangerous crosses from the left. In fact, the Taiping-born defender’s forward runs were so frequent that he was found more often in his oppositions’ half than in his own.
While Dzulazlan kept things tidy at the back for Sarawak, Joseph Kalang Tie excelled on the other end of the field. In an otherwise dull match, the playmaker injected some creative spark to the game and managed to grab a goal for himself with a powerful piledriver from outside the box.
Despite not getting his name in the scoresheet, Marco Tulio was at the heart of everything for Perak. Most of the Seladang attacks started from the Brazilian, who distributed the ball well and quickly to his team-mates in wide or unmarked positions.
Selangor’s S. Veenod shined in the second half when his side had to play with ten men. Besides getting stuck in and stamping his authority in midfield, Veenod also channelled his inner Yaya Toure in the dying minutes of the game to dash forward, scoring a spectacular goal and assisting another.
Brendan Gan showed that he was an able replacement for his Kelantan skipper Badhri Radzi, who started from the bench. Besides dictating the tempo and contributing some defensive work, the Australian-born Malaysian showed an eye for a pass as he cleverly lobbed the ball over the LionsXII’s back four, allowing Khairul Izuan Rosli to score.
Against Sime Darby, Jorge Pereyra Diaz added two more goals to his name in his short time in Malaysia. Seriously, the JDT winger has been in such an astonishing form since joining the club that it is beyond comprehension.
Like peanut butter and jelly, Diaz and Luciano Figueroa go really well together. The near-telepathic understanding between both Argentines have been crucial in recent matches and it was no different against Sime Darby. Constantly dropping back to collect the ball and freeing up space for Diaz to run, Figueroa played a huge part in both of his countryman’s goals.
Although Patrick Wleh was unable to prevent his side from crashing to a 3-1 home defeat to Perak, he played well enough to trouble the visitors’ backline. With his side struggling to keep the ball, the PKNS striker relentlessly took on the Perak defenders to create goal-scoring opportunities for himself and his team-mates.