Team of the Week - MSL Round 16
Farizal Marlias is the outstanding goalkeeper of the round again, as he recorded his 10th league clean sheet of the season against Sime Darby. Although the Selangor goalie was hardly troubled throughout the game, his presence in goal inspired confidence in his team, who were missing key defender Shahrom Abdul Kalam due to family reasons.
In place of Shahrom at the heart of Selangor’s defence against the Planters was Steve Pantelidis. The Australian had been playing in midfield of late but showed no sign of rustiness at the back as he marked Kelantan tormenter Mateo Roskam out of the game.
LionsXII’s Khairul Amri may have scored the opening goal very early in the match against Terengganu, but Vincent Bikana ensured that was his only real effort at goal since by making it difficult for Khairul to wiggle through and conjure more goal-scoring opportunities. Not only that, the Cameroonian’s long punts forward from the back were dangerous as it opened up the LionsXII’s defence – one of them actually had a hand in Terengganu’s equaliser.
Kelantan’s Hussein Alaa Hussein possibly came off the pitch against Perak with spotless shorts – it’s Rio Ferdinand’s way of knowing if he himself has a good game. Playing in a libero role, the Iraqi comfortably dealt with Perak’s threats before starting off his team’s attacks with neat passes.
Pablo Aimar who? Jorge Pereyra Diaz was given his full debut in front of a full Larkin Stadium and gave his home crowd a new Argentine hero. Against Pahang, the JDT new signing recorded two assists and showcased his ability to run and take on defenders.
Not to be outdone by Diaz, R. Gopinathan impressed as well in the same match with his direct runs and dribbling skills. The left winger easily breezed past national right-back Mahali Jasuli to assist Azamuddin Akil, and forced a late howler out of JDT goalkeeper Izham Tarmizi Roslan with his cross-cum-shot to secure a draw for the Elephants.
Kelantan’s Fitri Omar gave Perak players no time to think as he closed them down early and prevented them from building meaningful attacks. In fact, not even a yellow card was enough to subdue his spirit. The former ATM player also showed great vision to set up Khairul Izuan to give his team a comfortable two-goal lead.
Andik Vermansyah was once again tireless and outstanding for Selangor. Nimble and lively as always, the Indonesian won a penalty following a scramble for the ball in the penalty box, which Paulo Rangel duly scored.
Javier Romero clearly did not get the script, as he ruined Baihakki Khaizan’s LionsXII homecoming. The Terengganu striker headed his side’s equaliser from a corner in the first half before winning a penalty for set-piece specialist Zairo Anuar to convert and seal the win.
Despite playing without most of his key players at his disposal, ATM coach B. Sathianathan could rely on Fabrice Noel to grab three precious points in his side’s fight to avoid Super League relegation. After going a goal down, two long-range efforts from the Haitian caught the T-Team goalie off-guard and secured a comeback victory.