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Perak 1-1 Pahang: Bos Gaurus struggle to impress in drab MSL affair

Perak fans were left absolutely frustrated as their expensive squad failed to step up and get their MSL campaign off to a positive start, drawing 1-1 with Pahang earlier tonight.

Karl Heinz-Weigang surprised fans by naming an unexpected starting eleven. A host of big name signings, including Nazrin Nawi and Hafiz Kamal, were left out of the squad. But there was space for Kenny Palraj, who partnered Nasir Basharuddin in midfield. In defence, Shahrom Kalam returned to partner Thiago, effectively keeping Shahrul Saad on the bench.

Pahang’s starting eleven didn’t surprise many, as the likes of Joseph Kalang Tie, Mohamadou Sumareh, Ashaari Shamsuddin and even Francisco Insa all featured from the get-go. The only surprise probably arrived in the form of Muslim Ahmad, who was left on the bench for their season opener.

But despite an excellent pre-match atmosphere, both teams were rather speculative in the first 10 minutes of the game. Pahang were awarded a free-kick on the 5th minute of the match, but Syamim’s attempt missed the target by miles.

The home side looked slightly more dangerous on the break, but a combination of excellent defending from Pahang, as well as Perak’s poor offensive coordination allowed the away side to keep themselves in the mix. That almost changed on the 26th minute, as Idris found space on the right flank and crossed into the box. Zaquan did well to connect with the ball, but his header, unfortunately, sailed above the bar.

Perak kept on pushing on the offensive, and their foreign duo – Faton Toski and Yashir Pinto – continued to pose a huge threat. But their inability to convert chances in the final third, ensured that the match remained 0-0 as the half-time whistle was blown.

After the break, Pahang visibly upped their tempo and started looking a tad more adventurous. Joseph Kalang did exceptionally well to find space on the 49th minute, but his cross failed to find the onrushing Sumareh and Syamim. But less than seven minutes later, the away side broke the deadlock through a counter-attack, with Syamim Yahya finding home from close range to send the Pahang fans into frenzy mode.

The goal proved to be the turning point as Shahrom Kalam and Co began to stamp their authority on the match. Perak launched waves after waves of attack, and the ever-present Thiago Aquino eventually restored parity for them via an excellent header on the 68th minute mark.

Weigang’s men did not stop there as they continued pushing hard for the winner. Ridzuan Azly, Shahrul Saad and Hadi Yahya were all brought on as Perak opted to go for the jugular. Dollah responded by throwing an additional defender in the form of Muslim Ahmad – effectively nullifying Perak’s hopes of mouting a last-gasp comeback win. Ultimately, the score line remained as both sides got their Super League campaign off to a stoic start on a cold night in Ipoh.

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