Perak vs Felda United: Hosts looking for just a point

Malaysia Super League | Perak Stadium, Ipoh | Sunday April 24 | 9pm 

Billed as:

Defence versus attack.

The lowdown:

Perak coach Syamsul Saad has conceded that his team will be defensive as their only ambition is to earn a draw at home while his Felda United counterpart, Irfan Bakti wants a win.

One cannot blame Perak for lacking the desire as the team is more focused on its Malaysia FA Cup semi-final return leg encounter against Malaysian Premier League side PKNS on April 30.

Furthermore, they do not want to gamble on players who are close to making full recovery from injuries as Syamsul needs them to be fit for the FA Cup.

Scoring goals is not a problem for Felda as they have been doing it consistently since the start of the season.

Syamsul will play tight as he knows his team are just not good enough to match Felda, although, they did win their first league game of the season by edging Terengganu 3-2 on April 19.

As for Irfan, the coach does not want to be drawn into Syamsul’s mind games as he believes Perak will be motivated to record their second straight league win.

Irfan is wary as they cannot afford anything less than a fifth straight win to remain above second-place Johor Darul Ta’zim at the top of the league.

Team news:

Perak need to reshuffle as captain Nasir Basharuddin, winger Nurridzuan Abu Hassan and defenders Shahrul Saad, Amirul Azahan Aznan and Nazirul Naim Che Hashim are either recovering or working on their fitness back from various injuries.

Nurridzuan’s form will be assessed before the game but Syamsul may not risk the former national youth player as the coach needs him as an option to Elias Fernandes, who will serve a one-match suspension in the FA Cup semi-final return leg.

Syamsul’s fringe players may be inexperienced but they are a determined lot who are willing to go an extra mile for the team.

Felda have no injuries and suspensions, and everyone is eyeing for spots in Irfan’s starting line-up.

Irfan has come up with a perfect strategy to earn a win and although, he did not disclose it, one thing is for sure he will pack his midfield to clamp Perak’s speedy players.

Key battle: Elias Fernandes (Perak) v Forkey Doe (Felda)

Francis Forkey Doe is Felda's leading scorer

Elias Fernandes has scored four of eight goals by Perak in the league. The 23-year-old will be motivated after hitting a brace in the win over Terengganu.

The striker is not only dangerous inside the penalty box but he can also conjure up opportunities for his teammates.

Fernandes is talented but the problem is they do not have a good playmaker to supply the balls to him. A hardworking player, he is not afraid of taking on defenders.

Forkey Doe has scored 79 goals for various teams since making his debut in the M-League with Terengganu in 2012.

The Liberian is in good form as he has scored in the last four games.

The 31-year-old was only an eleventh hour signing for the injured Thiago Augusto Fernandez and coach Irfan must be thanking his lucky stars for making the right decision to get him onboard.

Fact and figures

  • It is a match between the highest and lowest scoring teams in the league. Felda have scored 20 goals compared to Perak’s eight.
  • Forkey Doe is Felda’s leading scorer with five goals in the league while Elias Fernandes is currently the top scorer for Perak with four goals.
  • In 2015, Perak thrashed Felda United 4-1 away but they lost 2-0 in the reverse fixture at home.

FourFourTwo prediction:

Perak 0 Felda United 2. Perak’s defensive approach will not be good enough to stop Felda’s talented strikers from scoring goals.