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Goal Malaysia takes an exclusive look at the key battles that could determine the monumental clash between Johor Darul Ta'zim and Pahang!


GOALBY    DARREN GOON     Follow on Twitter


ELIAS SANTOS
VS MATIAS CONTI
 

JDT’s new Brazilian center-back is set to be thrown straight into the fire, as he will be tasked with keeping Pahang’s prolific Argentinian forward under wraps. The former Nuremberg defender was an April acquisition by JDT, and his years of experience in dealing with fast, physical players will be an asset.

Conti scored twice in the corresponding semi-final last season, but it wasn’t enough as JDT still advanced to the final on away goals. He will be raring to go one better this season, and with four goals in his last four games, Santos will be in for a tough time.

 



SAFIQ RAHIM
VS HAFIZ KAMAL
 

It will be a battle of Harimau Malaya’s midfield generals, as Safiq faces Hafiz in the middle of the park. Rested for the 0-0 draw with the Philippines last week, Safiq will be the fresher of the two, but Hafiz will have the match-sharpness that came with playing 75 minutes against a strong Azkals midfield.

Hafiz has two goals in the FA Cup so far, both from direct free-kicks, so JDT will have to be careful about conceding any fouls just outside their penalty box. Safiq has had a resurgent season, and will look to pull some strings from his position in midfield. With both these strong leaders clashing in the middle of the pitch, it will be intriguing to see who comes out on top.

 

LUCHO FIGUEROA
VS DAMION STEWART
 

Argentine striker Figueroa is a handful for any defender, and will look to add to his tally of just one FA Cup goal this season (he scored twice against T-Team in that infamous 2nd round match, but his goals don’t count as JDT were awarded a 3-0 win). Blessed with good aerial ability and quick instincts, he will be up against Pahang’s main defensive rock Damion Stewart, who is equally strong in the air and in the tackle.

JDT should look to exploit Stewart’s relative lack of pace with quick balls behind the defence to Figueroa. However, the Jamaican defender is also a threat at set-pieces, as shown with his headed goal against Perak in the 1st round.

 

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