The Panthers of Penang will hope home advantage can spur them onto their first three points of the Malaysia Cup campaign, but JDT will hope to get back to winning ways
BY MARK DAWSON
Johor Darul Ta’zim will look to get back to winning ways when they travel to Stadium Bandaraya, Pulau Pinang, after a frustrating evenings work last time out versus ATM. On Tuesday evening JDT dominated at home against a resolute Gladiators team but were unable to find a way through an organised defence, and it would be no surprise to see Penang adopt a similar cautious approach against the current MSL champions.
With Malaysia Cup games coming along in quick succession, JDT coach Bojan Hodak may well decide to make changes to his starting 11, and utilise the strength in depth of his squad. One player in line for a return is Malaysia forward Amri Yahyah, who missed the last two matches through suspension. Hodak has told Kosmo, "He's a good player, very nimble and capable of creating a dangerous movement, but he is also capable of scoring goals in crucial situations if left alone in the penalty box. So a return is something that can inject more morale and spirit of the team, especially in attack."
So far the Southern Tigers have struggled for goals with only one goal in their last two matches, and none scored by forwards Safee Sali, Norshahrul and Luciano Figueroa, therefore Hodak may well look to freshen things up. Another player who could well be called upon is Argentinian attacking midfielder Jorge Pereyra Diaz who made his Malaysia Cup debut versus ATM, coming on as a substitute. He was the decisive factor in JDT clinching the MSL title and will look to establish some form and momentum in this competition.
Penang have proven in their first two games that they are not to be taken lightly, first drawing with Super League team ATM 1-1, before unluckily going down to a 1-3 defeat in Kelantan. After the game against the Red Warriors, opposition head coach George Boateng had kind words for Penang, saying “Credit must be given to Penang FA as they played just how I expected. I am not surprised that the opposition played well as soon as the second half started.”
Penang have demonstrated that they are capable of posing a major attacking threat to teams, with Angolan striker Titi Buengo and the impressive South Korean playmaker Lee Gil-Hoon standing out thus far in the opening two matches. This has led Bojan Hodak to state "Tomorrow (tonight) is another tough match, Penang drew with ATM and lost to Kelantan during the day, so they would want to win against us, especially in front of their own fans.”