Team of the Week - MSL Round 13
Despondent Perak remain dead-last in the MSL after losing at home to JDT. It was an important victory for the Southern Tigers as they capitalised on LionsXII’s tremendous 4-1 thrashing of league leaders Pahang, courtesy of bench hero Sufian Anuar. Incidentally, the 26-year-old Singaporean striker leads the line in a Team of the Week that, believe it or not, doesn’t feature Paulo Rangel! Well, mainly because Selangor’s game was postponed due to their AFC Cup commitment...
There were only two clean sheets in Round 13, but neither game featured the keeper of the week, Izwan Mahbud. The baby-faced Singaporean might not hog the spotlight after his side demolished the MSL leaders, but he was instrumental as LionsXII left themselves vulnerable at the back when they pushed forward to score. Thanks to the 23-year-old, the scoreline remained 1-1 before the Lions roared their way to victory.
On the back of the Lion-slaying act, once regulation-threatened side Sime Darby continued their ruckus in recent weeks by annihilating the once-dominant Kelantan with captain Juzaili Samion leading the team from the back and keeping a consecutive clean sheet.
Despite being bestowed with offensively gifted players, JDT were contained well by lowly Perak and resorted to a very solid defensive performance by Fadhli Shas to get all three points. The former Harimau Muda A defender was very much like an AirAsia flight – no thrills, no frills. His marking of 6’4” Milan Purovic was instrumental as JDT closed the gap on first-placed Pahang.
Alongside Fadhli, JDT captain Aidil Zafuan maintained the status quo and did well to ensure that any possible counterattack by the Bos Gaurus was futile, proving that they are Malaysia’s best defensive partnership going forward for the national team.
Yet another captain is in our team of the week and it’s none other than Captain Fantastic Safuwan Baharudin. While Pahang did cause troubles to the LionsXII backline, it was Safuwan who tipped the momentum in his team’s favour by scoring a beautifully struck goal – something the young defender isn’t unaccustomed to doing of late.
Christie Jayaseelan scored a goal against Sarawak, but it was too little too late. Much like an Agatha Christie novel, it was a crime that his performance didn’t pay any dividends as he was let down by ATM’s defence, which has been questionable all season.
Aside from being relatively attractive, Junior Eldstal lit up the Kuching Stadium with an important finish and helped the Crocs snap their poor form with an invaluable victory. It was a hugely contested match, but Junior controlled the middle of the park well and put in his best Russell Crowe impersonation against the Gladiators.
Syrian midfielder Mahmoud Amnah isn’t a popular name in the Super League yet, but brandishing a goal in Sime Darby’s arguably most important victory yet – one that culminated in Kelantan coach Steve Darby’s sacking – will surely change that.
Despite being on the losing side, Perak’s Partiban Janasekaran performed well to make it into this XI. The nimble winger caused havoc on the wing, providing his team-mates with ample opportunities to score. Much like the LRT, Partiban could deliver but was maybe just a little late throughout.
Mateo Roskam had the Sime Darby fans screaming Ma-Te-Oh all evening following an offensive onslaught that had begun just six minutes in. With his persevering runs and a knack to be in the right place to score a hat-trick, the new signing might just be able to salvage Sime Darby’s season.
The other hat-trick hero of the night was Sufian Anuar, who brought out his inner Solksjaer immediately after coming on as a substitute. Already having a shot after clocking just a minute on the pitch, the Singaporean was mesmerising with his dazzling runs as he constantly found a way to receive the ball in the most improbable circumstances.