The Giant Killers of Sime Darby will look to turn around their poor early season form, but have a tough task in overcoming a rejuvenated Johor Darul Ta'zim team
Firdaus - Juzaili - Mensah - K. Prabakaran
Razi - Sharofetdinov - Azmi - Saari - Dzulfahmi
Jasuli - Baihakki - Aidil - Fazly
Safiq - Shakir
Amri – Aimar - Azwan
The home team currently sit second from bottom with only one win in their first five matches, by they will have been boosted by the goalless draw they earned three weeks ago at PKNS FC. In that game they were good value for the point, with PKNS’s much heralded strike force unable to create many clear openings against an improved Sime Darby defence who picked up their second clean sheet of the campaign.
Having a three week break to take stock of their first five matches in the Malaysia Super League (MSL), and allow some early season injuries to recover, should benefit Sime Darby who will look to welcome back some key players for the visit of Johor.
Coach Ismail Zakaria will be able to call on Ghanaian defender William Mensah again after he recovered from the ankle injury that caused him to miss the PKNS match and the FA Cup defeat to Felda. Likely leading the line by himself is fellow import player, the Syrian striker Mahmoud Al Amnah. He too has struggled with injury recently, but looks to be back to 100% following hamstring trouble, and he’ll look to hit his first league goal of the season to add to his two cup goals.
For Johor, they will be relieved to get back to the business of football, after a whirlwind two weeks off the pitch. Firstly Bojan Hodak, the former Kelantan coach, was appointed the new team manager of JDT, while Spaniard Cesar Jimenez remains as head coach. Quite how this partnership will work remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that this move shows that the Johor management expect instant success from the team based on their vast coaching outlay.
The issue of the Larkin tunnel incident may also be weighing heavily upon the Southern Tigers, they recently had charges brought against them by the Football Association of Malaysia and disciplinary action could soon be taken against club management. On the pitch things have improved somewhat for Johor, they are on a streak of three victories and their last MSL match saw them impressively dispatch Selangor 4-1.
The main question for Hodak and Jimenez may again be who to select out of their four import players, with Johor having a seemingly fully fit squad. So far this season the Singaporean Hariss Harun has often been the odd man out, but he has recently put in some impressive performances and the good results of Johor have coincided with him being in the team.
The match kicks off at 8.45pm at the Selayang Stadium, Selangor.