Two sides that have had solid starts to the MSL season will be facing off against each other in Kuala Terengganu tomorrow
Mazlizam- Bikana - Hazmizan (c) - Zubir
Norfarhan - Karlovic - Ismail
Manaf - Mamadou - Ashaari
Miswan - Stewart - Rehman- Roslan
Azamuddin - Azidan - Gopi
Dickson - Conti
There we have it again, the monumental East Coast battle that will take place this weekend. Two teams, that have had solid starts to the season and top attacking abilities as well. Pahang with the dangerous Matias Conti, while Terengganu boast a front trio of Manaf Mamat, Ashaari Shamsudin and Mamadou Barry. This is destined for excitement.
Nobody said much about Terengganu prior to the season, but the Turtles have impressed thus far. They sit third on the table with seven points and have only lost once this season. And even that loss was suffered in Ipoh, where Perak netted an injury time winner to seal the win.
Karlovic in particular has been stellar and will be essential on Saturday evening. We all know that Pahang are a side that love building attacks from deep in midfield, with Azidan orchestrating the play; and this is something that Karlovic needs to prevent.
Bikana will also have a competitive night as he prepares to go up against Dickson. The Nigerian forward spurred Pahang to a draw after coming on as a sub against PDRM in the FA Cup on Tuesday and Ron Smith might choose to start him this weekend. The one thing that Dickson provides is physical presence, but Bikana has been equally outstanding in defense as well. This could well be an intriguing battle.
As for Pahang, they will need to contain the attacking trio of Ashaari, Manaf and Ismail. Hafiz Kamal's top performance as a defensive midfielder has earned him a national call-up and people would probably now expect him to turn in another top performance to help nullify this trio. Damion Stewart and Zesh Rehman are slowly building a sturdy partnership for Pahang and that could be key as well.
Another player that need to be watched carefully is R. Gopinathan. The man doesn't need an introduction, as he is purely about pace and delivery. Gopi has been such a threat down that left flank and fullbacks have dreaded the idea of facing him. If he is allowed space on the ball, he could be deadly on Saturday.
Whenever two east coast sides battle it out against each other, there is always excitement and thrill. But this time around, all those elements should be amplified even more. We're talking about two sides that can beat each other. It only promises full blown excitement