Analysis

Winners and losers: MIFA magic as JDT backline suffer rare collapse

Small clubs shine in opening round of Malaysia Cup matches. They look capable of upsetting the big boys this year.

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The 92nd Malaysia Cup kicked off at the weekend, and there were some big surprises in the opening group matches.

From what we’ve seen, the smaller clubs are not overawed by opponents bigger in stature and reputation, so we could be in for more surprises in the coming weeks.

We pick out the big winners and losers of the weekend.

WINNERS

MISC-MIFA

No one would have given this Malaysian Indian-based club a fighting chance when they faced defending Malaysia Cup champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) at their own turf. 

But the Premier League outfit proved they are not here just to make up the numbers in this competition. 

A fantastic defensive display, coupled with two great counter-attack goals from Kpah Sherman and Bae Beom-geun gave them a deserved 2-1 win over JDT. 
We can expect more magic from K. Devan’s fighters after this.

Tchetche Kipre

After failing to inspire Terengganu FC to second place in their final league game against Selangor FA, Kipre more than made amends against Kuala Lumpur FA in the Malaysia Cup Group A opener. 

The Ivorian forward only needed 47-minutes to notch a treble against the City Boys. 

Terengganu will be pleased that their hitman is picking up from where he left off, after finishing as the second highest goalscorer in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) with 14 goals.

Faris is only the second Singaporean to score in all three competitions domestically, since Safuwan Baharudin did it two years ago.

 Faris Ramli

PKNS FC are showing no signs of easing off after their third place finish in the MSL.  

The Red Ants ripped apart PDRM FA 5-2 on Sunday to top Group B. While five different players scored in that big win, Faris Ramli earns our acclaim as the hero of the week. 
Why? Because he becomes only the second Singaporean to score in all three competitions domestically, since Safuwan Baharudin did it two years ago. 
That, and the fact he has been magnificent for PKNS all season long.

 
LOSERS

Selangor FA

Not even a return to their holy grail Shah Alam Stadium could save Selangor from an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to PKNP FC. 

To begin with, we don’t know why the fans were insisting the Red Giants return to their old venue. It was not as if they were going to fill up the stadium to cheer their team, with only 1160 fans bothered to turn up. 

That miserable support reflected in the team’s performance, as PKNP were allowed to dictate the tempo of the game, especially in the first half and stroll to the easy win.

JDT defence

The Southern Tigers defence have been rock solid. It was the foundation of their fifth consecutive league title, having only conceded nine goals all season.

But against MIFA, the JDT backline was found wanting on a number of occasions. 

Sherman’s opener was a stunning hit with the outside of his boot, but the Liberian was allowed to slip unnoticed for the one vs one situation with Farizal Marlis. 

Similarly, Bae was also given time and space to find the top corner for the visitors' second goal. It was a rare lapse which we would not expect to see anytime soon.

Maciel must work his magic or KL face an early exit.

Kuala Lumpur FA

Fabio Maciel's men can boast a decent home form, which was one of the reasons they stayed in the MSL by finishing 10th. 

But that home form seems to have got off to a disastrous start on Saturday. 
Against Terengganu, they never stood a chance after falling to Kipre’s 25th minute opener to eventually succumb 5-1. 

Maciel will have to plot a way to resurrect their fortunes, or Kuala Lumpur are destined for an early exit