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FA Cup Quarter-final preview: Juicy ties to pick a new winner

 With 2017 winners Kedah out of the equation, eight teams will battle to become 2018 FA Cup winners and earn a place in the 2019 AFC Champions League qualifiers. FourFourTwo takes a look at the upcoming quarter-final ties...

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KUALA LUMPUR VS SELANGOR

Dates: April 7 & 21 (both Cheras Stadium)

Labelled the Klang Valley derby, this tie lost its charm over the years but the City Boys’ return to top flight in 2018 may have reignited the rivalry.

There is an added spice as both teams share the Cheras Stadium. The stadium is home to Kuala Lumpur (KL) but the city council irked fans by allowing Selangor, who are without a homeground, to use the venue for their home games.

The teams have already met in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) with Selangor prevailing 2-0. Yet it was far from straightforward and fortunes have since changed.

KL dominated the match but were unable to find the back of the net as Selangor earned a ‘smash and grab’ win. The City boys have suffered two more defeats in the league but they have defeated title favourites Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and Kedah, lending belief that they belong in top flight.

Selangor went through a rocky patch that saw them lose three of their last five matches in all competitions but a change in the dugout has given them renewed faith.

They recorded a stunning 3-1 win over Terengganu, the same team who humiliated them 4-1 in the league, to reach the last eight. New coach Nazliazmi Nasir will be out to show that the win over Terengganu in the previous round was no flash in the pan.

Prediction: KL seem to enjoy the big games and could get bragging rights by nicking this one.

PKNS VS PERAK

Dates: April 7 (Shah Alam Stadium); April 21 (Perak Stadium)

This match may not hold the same charm as the Klang Valley derby or the tense rivalry featured next, but it could be most tactical match of the round as it pits former Malaysia coach K. Rajagobal against Mehmet Durakovic.

There is unlikely to be plenty of goals unless either team have a breakdown the back, as Durakovic’s teams are hard to penetrate on their day  while Rajagobal is known for his attention to detail and demands for disciplined performances.

The Bos Gaurus have won their last three matches but the inconsistency that often derail their campaigns in previous years still lingers around.

PKNS meanwhile are on a better streak. They have won five of their last six matches – including a 2-0 win over Kedah in Alor Setar – and sit third of the MSL standings, level on 10 points with Pahang and two points adrift of JDT.

The Red Ants are emerging as 2018’s surprise package and with a man suited for building teams in the dugout, they are reaping some fruits.

Prediction: The Rajagobal revival to continue with a PKNS win.