The Panthers of Penang are in danger of being dumped out the cup in double quick time, trailing Johor by six points, in desperate need of three points to keep their hopes alive
BY MARK DAWSON
Daudsu - Antonio - Aidil - Shas
Safiq - Jamaluddin
Amri – Hariss - Nazwin
In Saturday’s clash it was returning forward Amri Yahyah who was the star of the show, scoring one and setting up another two goals to inspire the Southern Tigers to a 3-1 victory over Penang. He came into the line-up replacing Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, and after a magnificent performance it is safe to assume that coach Bojan Hodak will keep him in the team to again exploit the left-side of Penang. Defensive midfielder Shakir Shaari missed the clash on Saturday, and could be in line for a recall here.
For his part, Hodak is not taking anything for granted, despite being within touching distance of the quarter-finals. He told the Star Online, “It was a good win for JDT and we are taking it match by match. We were impressive in the first half against Penang and could have scored more goals. We stopped playing as effectively and handed the initiative to our opponents after the break. We will play Penang again after two days of rest, and it is important that we collect three points at home.”
For JDT, both Amri and Safiq Rahim worked well together last time out, trading assists for the others goal, and Penang coach K. Devan will know that if they wish to get anything from this game then these are the two players they must predominantly focus on. He has not yet given up hope of his charges escaping the group, telling The Star, “JDT and Kelantan have opened up a sizable gap and are favourites to qualify. Penang’s fate depends on the outcome of Tuesday’s game in Johor Baru. It is a difficult task to beat JDT at their home ground, but anything is possible in football. If we can stay alive in Johor Baru, then we have some hope in the last two matches at home.”
The task of the Panthers, who sit at the bottom of Group C with one point, has been made more difficult due to injuries and unavailability. Last time out their Angolan striker Titi Buengo was missing as he had to return to Paris due to a family bereavement. The latest news out of the club suggests that he will not be returning to Penang until August 28th, therefore he will miss this game and only be able to play in the last two games against Kelantan (August 29th) and ATM (September 2nd).
Coach K. Devan has also confirmed that South Korean defender Lee Kwang-Hyun and Zharif Hasna have also been ruled out of the return clash due to injury, making it an uphill task to get anything from the Larkin Stadium.