2015 MSL Team of the Week: Gameweek 1
There was no shortage of goals in the first gameweek of the new season, with the LionsXII-PDRM and Felda United-Sarawak matches contributing 14 of the 22 goals scored. However, our Team of the Week doesn't just comprise the players from both matches...
Despite barely getting any dirt on his gloves, new JDT goalkeeper Farizal Marlias was on alert whenever Pahang threatened to attack, especially in the latter stages of the match when the away side piled on some pressure, as he grabbed his first clean sheet of the season.
It looks like R. Gopinathan has finally found his match in S. Kunanlan. Speedy and disciplined, the makeshift right-back was often quick to close the Pahang star down and prevent him from getting to the ball first.
Not a lot of players can claim to have marked Dickson Nwakaeme out of a game, but Marcos Antonio certainly can. The Brazilian put on a strong performance to keep the Pahang forward quiet and worked in tandem with midfielder turned defender Junior Eldstal. To top it off, he also scored the opening goal for JDT.
Having already used all their substitutes, Kelantan had to play with 10 men for the majority of the second-half against ATM after Brendan Gan limped off due to an injury. But they managed to hold on for a win partly due to Jonathan McKain, who put in a commanding performance in front of his goalkeeper. His clearance in the 62nd minute indirectly led to Kelantan’s second goal.
The left channel of the LionsXII was almost impenetrable with Hafiz Sujad putting in a good shift. The 24-year-old full-back was effective in thwarting PDRM’s threat and making attacking runs down the wing, which saw him grabbing a goal.
Against PDRM, LionsXII’s Gabriel Quak easily had one of his best games. The 5-3 demolition of the Malaysian Premier League winners was led by the right winger, who brilliantly grabbed the opening goal by rounding the goalkeeper and ripping the ball into the back of the net.
Another LionsXII midfielder who impressed against the Police was Izzdin Shafiq, who read the game expertly and controlled the tempo well. To cap off his night, he scored a goal by delightfully chipping over the goalkeeper in the second-half, which defender Fadhil Hashim was unable to clear.
If their 2-0 win over Selangor indicated anything, set pieces could be Terengganu’s forte this year and their main man would be Gustavo Lopez. One of the Argentinian’s corners led to his side’s first goal of the night and his wonderful free-kick in the second-half beat an outstretched Norazlan Razali at the near post.
Long-time Sarawak servant Shahrol Saperi showed that he can still contribute to the team as he assisted a goal and then salvaged a point for his team right at the death with a strike just outside the box against Felda United.
After spending a few years away from Perak at the Harimau Muda set-up, Nurridzuan Abu Hassan wasted no time to reintroduce himself to the home crowd. The 22-year-old scored a well-taken goal and won a penalty for his home state team, which was unfortunately missed by Charles Souza.
The score-line at the Jalan Besar Stadium would’ve been more humiliating for Azman Adnan’s men if it was not for Dramane Traore, who scored a second-half hat-trick to set up a nervy finish to the match.