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 looked on high alert whenever Pahang threatened to attack. The goalkeeper did well in the latter stages of the match when the away side piled on some pressure, as he earned his first clean sheet of the season.
It seems 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 often prevented 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 with 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 side of the LionsXII defence 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 also saw him grabbing his team's fourth 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 the goalkeeper in the second-half, as defender Fadhil Hashim tried desperately to clear.
If Terengganu's 2-0 win over Selangor is anything to go by, set pieces could be their 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 a diving Norazlan Razali at the near post.
Long-time Sarawak servant Shahrol Saperi showed that he can still make a telling contribution as he assisted a goal, then salvaged a point for his team right at the death with a strike from just outside the box against Felda United.
After spending a few years away from Perak with the Harimau Muda set-up, Nurridzuan Abu Hassan wasted no time in reintroducing himself to his home crowd. The 22-year-old scored a well-taken goal and won a penalty for his home state team, although the spot kick 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.