Goal’s Malaysia Cup Analysis: Johor Darul Takzim pipped to progress to the quarterfinals with PKNS FC

The way in which Group B forms up, Johor Darul Takzim look to be favourites to progress to the quarterfinals ahead of PKNS FC in the Malaysia Cup
Group A sees the Malaysian Super League's third-place finishers Johor Darul Takzim take the top seed ahead of PKNS FC, T-Team and playoff winners Felda United. With the Southern Tigers as clear favourites, it's pretty much an open battle for the second spot between the Red Ants, Titans and Settlers. Winners of this group will face-off against top-class competition from this year's 'Group of Death' (Group C); featuring Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu and Negeri Sembilan. Results from that group might see a second-place finish in Group B no better than the first.


As a top seed in Group B, the Johor side are clearly labeled as the favourites to finish in first place at the end of the group stages. Fandi Ahmad led his ‘million-dollar’ team to third in the Malaysian Super League (MSL) - after the revamp - but that was considered a poor result considering the fact that the Southern Tigers dropped points when they should have bagged three on several occasions. With the added disappointment of an FA Cup final defeat, JDT would be looking to bash through the preliminary rounds with all guns ablaze.

They have been put in considerably an easy group with PKNS FC, T-Team and Felda United. They have beaten both the Red Ants as well as the Titans in both home and away fixtures in the MSL and will look to do the same in the Malaysia Cup. However, the Settlers have forced JDT to drop points with two draws in the league. If all things go according to plan, the Southern Tigers should finish top of the group, especially with Pablo Aimar up their sleeves for the competition.



An eighth place finish in the Malaysian Super League is by no means a good measure to sum up PKNS’ chances in qualifying for the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Cup. Their track record in the MSL shows that they have beaten both Felda United and T-Team twice each this season. That means they can conjure up 12 points without much problem and that could see them finish in the top-two. Their only stumbling block would be Johor Darul Takzim.

The Red Ants have a potent strike force in the form of Patrcik Ronaldinho Wleh and Roman Chmelo who have netted a total of 17 times this season. Add to that the flare in Nazmi Faiz in midfield - who scored once in nine appearances - the quarterfinals are almost a sure bet for PKNS.




Based on statistics, T-Team are the third best team in Group B after a below par performance in the Malaysian Super League. Their managerial problems were in no way separate from their on-field display. The departure of Peter Butler took its toll but the Titans narrowly survived the drop to the Malaysia Premier League by only an inferior goal difference.

Out of all the competition in Group B, the Terengganu-based side have only taken points from lowly Felda United - a 4-0 whopping win and 1-1 draw at home - in the league. With one of the poorest defences in the MSL, added with a very poor scoring record - only 19 goals - T-Team are going to be hard-pressed from the get-go and are clearly one of the underdogs.



If ever Felda United should be given a name for the Malaysia Cup, the ‘Ultimate Underdog’ should be it. Having already faced the brunt of relegation after three seasons in the top flight and a poor FA Cup outing, the Settlers only have the Malaysia Cup to salvage something out of their already dismal season.

Selangor-based Felda needed to overcome Pos Malaysia to qualify for the Malaysia Cup and they did exactly that with a 1-0 victory. If that is a sign form for the Settlers, they have a lot of thrashing to do in the ‘wreck room’.

Led by the defensive stalwart in Kaironnisam Sahabudin, they have the poorest defence in the MSL, conceding a total of 35 times. Foreign signings Leonel Saint-Preux and Nsumbu Mazuwa have had a terrible stint at Felda after only netting once between the two of them.

However, from a more notable perspective, Felda United have reached the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Cup in 2011 and 2012. They could be the difference-maker and prove to all the skeptics that league form is in no way a good measure of Malaysia Cup progression.