Kedah eager to bounce back, P. Pinang seek to add to first point in MSL round eight

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The final round of the Super League before the FA Cup third round and the international break, matchday eight will be played this weekend.


BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter


The final round of the Super League before the FA Cup third round and the international break, matchday eight will be played out this weekend.

League leaders Pahang will play away to defending champions JDT in the only match to be played on Friday. Read our preview here.

Third-placed Selangor will host fifth Perak at the Selayang Municipal Stadium. Check out the match preview here.

Kedah vs Melaka United

Second-placed Kedah, who lost their top spot to Pahang in the previous round, will want to bounce back from their mid-week disappointment. At the Darul Aman Stadium they will host strugglers Melaka United, who on Wednesday were held to a 1-1 draw against another northern side, bottom-placed Pulau Pinang.

The Red Eagles are the only remaining unbeaten side in MSL, having won four matches and drawn in three. More convincingly, they have won all four matches played at home this season.

The eighth-placed Mousedeers curiously have better records playing on the road, than in front of their own fans. They have lost both their league matches at home, but out of five away matches, they have won two, drawn in two, and lost one.

Both sides have not played each other in the past nine years, as Melaka have just been promoted to the top-tier this season.

Kedah may be without winger Baddrol Bakhtiar due to injury, while the visitors will be without star striker Ilija Spasojevic.

Kedah's Baddrol Bakhtiar celebrating his goal against JDT 20/1/2017

Baddrol Bakhtiar. Photo by Muizzuddin Yahaya/CSN

PKNS FC vs Pulau Pinang

Late afternoon Saturday, ninth-placed PKNS will host Pulau Pinang, with both sides not having tasted victory for quite some time. The Red Ants fell to Pahang 3-0 on Tuesday, while Pulau Pinang put a stop to their six-match losing streak with a 1-1 draw against Melaka on Wednesday.

PKNS will surely want to use Saturday's match against the strugglers to recover their form which at one point saw them defeating Selangor and Perak back-to-back, while the visitors are slowly looking to rebuild their confidence following their first point this season.

Playing at home, PKNS have won two matches, drawn in one and lost two. They have never failed to score at the Shah Alam Stadium this season. The Panthers meanwhile have lost all four of their away matches this season.

The last time both sides met was in 2015, in the Premier League and the Malaysia Cup. PKNS won two of the matches, Pulau Pinang one, while one ended in a draw.

Kelantan vs T-Team FC

In Kota Bharu, sixth-placed Kelantan will play seventh T-Team FC, with the Red Warriors having recorded a shock 4-2 win over Perak on Wednesday. The Titans meanwhile held Felda United to a goalless draw in the previous round.

Funnily enough for the Red Warriors, they have won all three of their away league matches this season, while losing all three of their home matches. Fortunately for them, T-Team are not consistent away from home, having won one and lost two away matches.

Furthermore, in the past five fixtures between the two teams in Kota Bharu, Kelantan have won four of them, with the remaining match ending in a draw.

Coincidentally, their eight most recent fixtures have all been won by the home team, and Kelantan could extend the record to nine on Saturday.

Kelantan's first eleven against Perak 1/3/2017

Kelantan. Photo by Vincent Phoon/CSN

Felda United FC vs Sarawak

At the Tun Abdul Razak Stadium, eleventh-placed Felda will host tenth-placed Sarawak. In the previous round, Felda drew against T-Team, while Sarawak were beaten 2-0 by JDT.

The Fighters' new head coach Bhaskaran R Sathianathan has improved on the club's poor early-season performance, having guided them to two back-to-back draws. But playing at home against an opponent that has an advantage of only one point over them, the relegation-threatened side should be gunning for all the three points in order to reach safety.

Sarawak boss David Usop meanwhile must surely be wracking his brain trying to solve his side's inconsistency, having alternately won and lost in the past five rounds.

Fortunately for David, the Crocodiles are better playing away from home. Out of their four away matches in the league, they have won two, drawn one and lost one. While for Felda, they have played four times at home, winning one, drawing two and losing once.

However, the last time Sarawak defeated Felda was all the way back in 2012, and out of their six matches since then, two have been won by the Fighters while the rest ended in draws.

READ MORE

Malaysia Super League Matchday 7 Round-Up

'This one point feels like a win!' - Selangor's Maniam

Williams: 'Pulau Pinang should have won the game'

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