A rejuvenated Selangor side will be hosting Sarawak at the Shah Alam Stadium tomorrow, offering what could turn out to be a real spectacle between two sides filled with attacking quality.
Let’s not take anything away from Selangor. They certainly had a difficult start to the season, but that victory over Felda United has certainly sparked life into them, and that translated into an exhilarating performance against PDRM last weekend. The Red Giants netted four goals past The Cops, but more importantly showcased what they are capable of on full force.
We’re talking about a PDRM side that has been in fine form thus far, with the exception of that opening day defeat to LionsXII. They secured a win over Johor DT, smashed four goals past Kelantan in Kota Bharu and came into the match against Selangor as massive favourites to clinch three points. Durakovic’s side though, gave them an absolute footballing lesson with an impressive display on the pitch.
But frustratingly enough, skipper Shahrom Kalam picked up an injury in that match, ruling him out for almost six weeks. Calling this tricky would be an understatement, because Sarawak boast an attacking line-up that is slowly getting into form. Billy Mehmet has already a few times this season, while Ryan Griffiths is equally important in terms of build up play.
Joseph Kalang and Ashri Chuchu usually provide the ammunition from the flanks, and with Azmi Muslim also out of action, Selangor are visibly depleted at the back. Robert Alberts will be getting his players to exploit that weakness, and if you were to take their disciplined performance against Johor DT into consideration, the Crocs could very much cause an upset on Saturday night.
The onus will now be on Robert Cornthwaite. The tall Australian defender will be tasked with keeping Billy Mehmet at bay and understandably enough, it will be tricky without his defensive partner in Shahrom. But Rob’s got the experience to deal with situations like this and his performance could be extremely pivotal. At the same time, they need Hazwan Bakri and Guilherme to keep their form going upfront, as the Sarawakian defence can be rock solid on their day. Remember, it took two efforts from outside the box for JDT to beat them last week. And one of it was a set-piece as well.
Everybody loves an upset, especially when it involves one of the biggest teams in Malaysia. But in this case, Selangor have done enough over the last two games to install themselves as favourites. Can they exemplify that on the pitch? We’ll have to wait and see.