BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Matchday 21 of the Malaysia Premier League; its penultimate round, will be played on Tuesday, with the top two teams looking bullish to secure promotion to the 2018 Malaysia Super League.
Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Terengganu are now both on 44 points, but the Klang Valley-based side have the superior goal difference; +23 to the East Coast-based side's; +14.
Terengganu. Photo from Terengganu FA Facebook
But two other teams still have the chance of wresting the two promotion spots made available to the second tier.
Third-placed dark horse PKNP FC are on 40 points with a goal difference of +14, and Negeri Sembilan are fourth with 38 points and a goal difference of +13.
A win on Tuesday for KL and Terengganu in round 21 will see them both confirming promotion. However, a draw may just be enough, if both PKNP and Negeri draw or lose. The top two sides may qualify even if they lose, as long as PKNP and Negeri both lose in their matches as well.
However, KL and Terengganu will surely want to seal the promotion on Tuesday. KL; the City Boys are playing at home against seventh-placed Sabah, while their last league match will be away to fifth-placed JDT II. The Turtles meanwhile are playing away to PDRM, with their next match away to PKNP, in what may be a promotion decider if Terengganu fail to wrap things up tonight.
But Fábio Magrão's side look to face the sterner challenge on Tuesday, as Sabah have won three and drawn two of their last five away matches. Perhaps realising this, the side have decided to make tonight's match at the Selayang Municipal Council Stadium a free entrance encounter; to ensure they get the full backing of the crowd.
If KL manage to confirm promotion tonight, or in the next round, it will be their first season in the top-tier since the 2012 season. After that they even found themselves relegated to the third tier; the FAM League for the 2014 season, and upon returning to the Premier League for the 2015 season; found themselves relegated again at the conclusion of the season. Thankfully, they were saved from embarrassment by the shutting down of Singapore's LionsXII in the Super League, and could stay in the second tier. A much better 2016 season ensued, and now they are just hours away from securing promotion.
Meanwhile for Irfan Bakti Abu Salim's men, a promotion would mean a quick return to the top tier, after they became one of the two sides to be relegated at the conclusion of the 2016 season.