PREVIEW: JDT aiming to end Pahang's title challenge on enemy ground

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Preview of the mammoth top of the table clash between Pahang and Johor Darul Ta'zim is brought to you by UBERMEN

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After two rounds of cup action, the domestic league turns its attention back to the Super League and it's the top of the table clash at Darul Makmur Stadium on Tuesday.

Pahang will welcome the visit of Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT), looking get a positive result to ensure that the title challenge remains interesting until the end of the 2017 season.

CURRENT FORMS

Pahang are not in great shape having only won once in their last five matches. Two draws and two defeats in all competition shows the inconsistency of Dollah Salleh's team. Their last two home league matches resulted in defeats to Kedah and Kelantan respectively. 

Comparatively, JDT is the team that goes into this match on better form. The Southern Tigers go into the match after back-to-back wins in the league as well as starting their cup campaign undefeated after two matches.

RECENT RECORDS

The two met each other in the FA Cup earlier this season and on this ground, Pahang emerged 3-1 winners back in early April - a result that helped knocked JDT out of the competition. Yet, that was the only time in the last five meetings that Pahang have won, with JDT winning the other four matches. 

In fact, such was the disparity between the two teams last season that in the corresponding fixture in the 2017 Super League season, JDT handed Pahang an embarassing 6-0 thrashing in Kuantan where forward Jorge Pereyra grabbed a hat trick in the rout.

Pahang v JDT GIF

PLAYER AVAILABILITY

Pahang put out their regular XI in the last game against PKNP FC on Friday night although Matthew Davies and Wan Zaharulnizam did get about 20 odd minutes of rest towards the end of the second half after they were both substituted. While Dollah Salleh could look to introduce some fresh legs for the game against JDT, the former Malaysia national team head coach might resist the temptation and hope that he can get another 90 minutes out of his players.

As for JDT, Ulisses Morais was able to send out a completely different starting XI in the last two matches which could see them being the fresher team on Tuesday night. Safiq Rahim, Marcos Antonio, Natxo Insa, Gonzalo Cabrera and Gabriel Guerra should all return to the fold as they look to increase their nine points lead over Pahang at the top of the table. 

VERDICT

The arrival of Insa has give JDT another dimension as his all-action style has not only lifted the mood around the club, especially after the dreadful exit from the AFC Cup competition. The former Levante midfielder looks to be final piece of jigsaw in the JDT midfield that now gives them the solidity that they were lacking before.

Pahang's form coming into this match will mean that the favourites tag will once again hang on the neck of the visitors. The aforementioned disappointing memories of the 3-1 defeat will also be the driving motivation for JDT to wipe away and to put it down as nothing more than a small footnote. 

It will be tight but JDT should come away with all three points.

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