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Matchday 5 puts the spotlight on Pulau Pinang's competitiveness, Sarawak and Perak Malaysia Cup rivalry, and Selangor's chances in the cup.


GOALBY    ZULHILMI ZAINAL     Follow on Twitter
 
PENANG STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR TOP

After a few years of deterioriation, a newly-rejuvenated Pulau Pinang Football Association (FAP) revived the state of the team by committing more fund and effort into it. As a result, last year they were promoted into the Premier League, with the target of gaining a swift promotion to the MSL at the end of the season. However a strong start was then hampered by a lackluster second half of the season, and the islanders were made to wait another season for that longed-for promotion. No matter, they still qualified for the Malaysia Cup.

Only that they still disappoint in the Malaysia Cup, gaining only one point from five group matches so far, rooted in bottom and having conceded 15 goals. They are effectively out of the running for qualification. 

Their poor campaign should give them a taste of the realities in the MSL, as the other three teams in Group B are MSL teams. JDT I are the champions, Kelantan a mid-table team, whereas ATM finished just clear of the relegation zone. And the reality is that the Panthers are not yet good enough to compete with the big boys, if they are really eager to gain that promotion. And it must be noted that gaining promotion is one thing, staying up is another, and they both require different levels of commitment.

In league football, a lot of teams get promoted only to make a swift return to the lower division because they underestimate the challenge in the top league, and fail to prepare sufficiently. 
Penang need to prepare better next season,and not just to gain promotion, but also to stay up.Following their 1-1 home draw to Perak that saw their qualification chances shut, Sarawak fans rioted in Kuching which led to the destruction of property and several police vehicles. Before the match, the Sarawak FA decided not to sell any tickets to the away fans, citing security reasons following fan troubles during the earlier Ipoh fixture. Now finding the actual reason for any riots is never easy given the herd-mentality rampant during it, but perhaps it is safe to say that part of the reason is the fans' disappointment at Crocs' poor performance in the cup, drawing and winning one, and losing the remaining three.

However it should be noted that in the 2013 edition, it was Perak's chances that was destroyed by Sarawak after they were beaten 6-1 in the final group match, also at Kuching. Perak FA then had a meltdown with the SPRM being called in without much effect, and their players leaving. The effect of the whole incident is still felt by the Silver State until now.
 

SARAWAK VS PERAK 2.0


Following their 1-1 home draw to Perak that saw their qualification chances shut, Sarawak fans rioted in Kuching which led to the destruction of property and several police vehicles. Before the match, the Sarawak FA decided not to sell any tickets to the away fans, citing security reasons following fan troubles during the earlier Ipoh fixture. Now finding the actual reason for any riots is never easy given the herd-mentality rampant during it, but perhaps it is safe to say that part of the reason is the fans' disappointment at Crocs' poor performance in the cup, drawing and winning one, and losing the remaining three.

However it should be noted that in the 2013 edition, it was Perak's chances that was destroyed by Sarawak after they were beaten 6-1 in the final group match, also at Kuching. Perak FA then had a meltdown with the SPRM being called in without much effect, and their players leaving. The effect of the whole incident is still felt by the Silver State until now.
 

SELANGOR'S HALF HEARTED QUALIFICATION

Despite being predicted as a shoe-in quarter-finalist from Group D, MSL runners-up Selangor's campaign suffered hiccups against PDRM on Saturday and Sime Darby earlier on Wednesday.

Against PDRM, they conceded the equaliser in the final minutes after leading 1-0 for most of the match, and failing to kill the game by doubling their lead against a PDRM side that never got into second gear.

On Wednesday, they let Sime Darby gain a from-behind 2-1 win at Shah Alam, after going on the defensive after their lead. Inexplicably, their head coach, Mehmet Durakovic only made substitutions after they have fallen behind.

Their wastefulness and lack of hunger mean that they have to wait until the final group match, against the already knocked out T-Team, to secure qualification. Sure, the advantage is still with the Red Giants as they are second in the group on seven points, with third-placed Sime Darby who are on six points having to take on group leaders PDRM in their last match, but from the way they have been playing, a question will be asked; is it worth it at all for them to qualify?

They now can only qualify as the group's second best team, and that means going up against the leader of another group in the quarter finals. Again, judging by the poor way that they have been playing, that means things are probably not going their way and the end of the road.
 

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