Kelantan travel to play PKNS in triumphant mood having secured a place in the AFC Cup knock-out stages. But will the Fire Ants spoil their party?
The Red Warriors have been in astounding form of late, defying fatigue to conjure win after win. After defeating table toppers Lions XII last weekend, Kelantan continued their quest for a treble with a 1-0 win over Myanmar outfit Ayeyawady, courtesy of Nwoha Onyekachi’s solitary strike.
Nohshahrul Idlan Talaha is poised to partner S. Chanturu in attack, a combination that worked wonders against Lions last week. Striker Mohammad Ghaddar will most likely warm the bench for this match, but may come on as substitute should his services be required.
Veteran midfielder Indra Putra Mahayuddin is also set to be rested for this match after inspiring Kelantan in their midweek win. Instead, roving midfielder Norfarhan Muhammad will partner Nurul Azwan Roya to supply the necessary armoury for Nohshahrul and Chanturu to score.
PKNS were dealt a last minute blow to lose 3-2 to Johor FC on Tuesday, so they will be hoping to put that disappointment behind them and get a positive result against the Malaysian Super League’s current in-form side.
This club team is known for their giant killing act, having already upset Lions XII just two weeks ago.
French hitman Michael Nicoise will be looking to add to his six goal tally. The lanky striker is finding the net consistently since signing for PKNS earlier this year. If Kelantan defenders Obinna Nwaneri and S. Subramaniam can halt the striker’s physical strength and deny him any space to shoot, PKNS’ main goalscoring threat will be snuffed out.
But PKNS are also deadly from set-pieces, and defender H. Remeli will be eager to add to his four goal tally by venturing forward for every deal ball situation.
Judging by current form, this match should be a breeze for Kelantan who look simply unstoppable at the moment. But PKNS are no slouch themselves, so expect an end-to-end encounter at the Petaling Jaya stadium on Saturday night.