Pahang will look to bounce back after last weeks defeat, while Johor Darul Ta’zim will be looking to apply pressure to lead leaders Selangor
Norazlan bin Razali
Jasuli - Shas - Aidil Zafuan - Putra
Rahim - Hariss
Amri Yahyah – Norshahrul - Azwan Roya
Miswan - Stewart - Rehman – Salleh
Gopinathan - Kamal – Azidan – Surendran
For Johor it is their first Super League match in almost a month, having last played a league game on April 18th. Their fixture last week against LionsXII was rearranged to May 20th, due to the charity friendly match between the ASEAN All Stars and Indonesian national team, which involved JDT players Yahyah, Mahalli Jasuli, Aidil Zafuan, Safiq Rahim and Safee Sali.
Their opponents this evening will be familiar, as Pahang and JDT are in the middle of three matches against one another that will define their season. Recently they met in the FA Cup semi-final first leg, which ended 1-1, with the return leg at the end of the month,. However this tie should have a huge bearing on where the MSL title ends up.
Although the headlines last time out were on the unruly fan behavior following the two teams meeting, JDT manager Bojan Hodak was unflattering in his assessment of the match officials during that game, clearly feeling they had cost his side a win. His comments to Bernama were, “I cannot give any statement because I will talk about the referee, and if I talk about that, I will be fined.” For this game Bojan has few injury concerns, expect the dangerous Luciano Figueroa to lead the line, and Fadhli Shas to continue in central defence following the release of Baihakki Khaizan.
Pahang do have line-up concerns however, with skipper Razman Roslan suspended after picking up his third yellow card of the season in the defeat by Selangor last week. Expect import player Zesh Rehman to take his place, possibly at the expense of one of Pahang's import forwards. Goalkeeper Khairul Azhan also hopes to be fit after missing last weeks game through injury, if he is unavailable then Nasril Mat Nourdin will continue in his place.
Although their defeat to Selangor was a major disappointment, several staff and players have issued rallying cries this week. Captain Roslan has said that his team "cannot afford a second consecutive defeat" while midfielder Mohd Hafiz Kamal commented that his team "will claw our way back to the top again. There are seven more matches to play. We have been quite consistent and we should be able to give the stronger teams a run for their money."
Pahang head coach Zainal Abidin Hassan is another who realizes the significance of the JDT clash. He said, “It’s not the end as the season has a long way to go and we can redeem the loss by winning our next game.” With an in-form Selangor team threatening to run away with the title, both teams know they require maximum points here.