After losing the FA Cup final and finishing second in the Premier League, can the Fighters avoid finishing as bridesmaids for the third time this season?
Home Ground: MBPJ Stadium, Petaling Jaya
Nickname: The Fighters
Premier League: 2nd
FA Cup: Final
Last Season's Malaysia Cup: Group Stages
What happened in the league?
Felda peaked at the right time, only occupying the second spot for the first time after 14 games in the Premier League and remaining there to earn Super League promotion. They were also the only M-League team besides Super League champions JDT to preserve an unbeaten home record.
They are an attack-minded side led by local veterans, aided by excellent foreign imports. Felda have also earned the ‘giant-killers’ moniker after their surprise run to the FA Cup final, where they unfortunately lost to Pahang.
Despite facing Super League teams six times in the FA Cup, their giant-killing reputation is not exactly justified because they only won once – a 1-0 win against Sime Darby. It does not mean that they can be underestimated, though, because as the Premier League’s second-highest scorers with 58 goals, scoring is not a problem for them.
Scoring goals. Felda’s attacking trident of Edwar Junior Wilson, Zah Rahan Krangar and Indra Putra Mahayuddin combined for 38 league goals, including a hat-trick each for Wilson and Indra Putra. They are part of a strong spine, from goalkeeper Farizal Harun to captain Shukor Adan in defence, with Indra Putra and Krangar in midfield, and Wilson up front.
While their defence can handle Premier League attackers well, Felda conceded nine goals in their six games against Super League sides in the FA Cup. They also let 3-0 and 1-0 leads slip against Kelantan (in the semi-final first leg) and Pahang (in the final) respectively.
The player to watch
Edward Junior Wilson. The Premier League’s Golden Boot winner has 20 goals in all competitions so far. Strong, quick, and a willing runner, he has forged a good understanding with his compatriot, Krangar, and Indra Putra.
Irfan Bakti is a master motivator, leading his team to important victories over nearest rivals PDRM and Penang late in the campaign to seal promotion, as well as away goal victories over Sarawak and Kelantan in the FA Cup.
Group stage fixtures
Aug 13 – LionsXII (A)
Aug 19 – JDT II (H)
Aug 22 – Pahang (A)
Aug 26 – Pahang (H)
Aug 29 – JDT II (A)
Sept 2 – LionsXII (H)