Just lke it was in the reverse fixture in Ipoh back in early March, Perak emerged victorious through a solitary goal to earn all three points at the expense of PJ City FC. Tried as they might, K. Devan's side just could not find the finishing required to get at least a point from the encounter on Friday which boosted Perak's league position up to sixth.
Ronaldo Henrique Silva got the winning goal in the 14th minute but PJ City definitely had their chances to come back into the game. Here are the 5 observations Goal made in the course of the 1-0 win for Perak on away turf.
Careca and Ronaldo building up a good partnership
Just like what Perak had with Wander Luiz and Gilmar Filho last season and for a short period this season, a similar partnership is being replicated with their replacements in Ronaldo Henrique Silva and Raianderson da Costa Morais (Careca). A partnership which relies on the combination of different strengths in two players, so far it is one which has been working well for The Bos Gaurus.
Ronaldo as the name strongly suggest is the striker who plays very close to the opponent’s centre back, looking to spin in behind and make the runs for the final pass. While Careca has a deft left foot and is tasked with the creativity in the final third. It was Careca’s pass in the 19th minute that created the opening for Ronaldo to score Perak’s goal in the first half.
Shaky Hafizul searching for his confidence
The custodian has had a torrid season in 2019 where he has been suspect on a fair few goals which Perak has conceded throughout the season. Injured prior to the international break, Hafizul’s place was taken by Kahirul Amri Salehuddin but resumption of domestic fixture saw Mehmed Durakovic quickly handing back the spot to Hafizul.
But the 26-year-old had a start to forget in the match, twice scuffing his clearance wide for throw ins to PJ City. It was obvious that Hafizul was bereft of confidence, something which Durakovic also picked up on when he gave his keeper a raptuos round of clapping as a form as encouragement at his first clearance that went past the halfway line.
Hafizul admitted to Goal after the match that he was not in the best of conditions yet having just returned from an injury but will be taking plenty of heart from the clean sheet as he seeks to go back to his level best that saw him being a Malaysia regular.
Form for country keeps Shahrel on bench for club
It was only a few days ago that Shahrel Fikri received plenty of accolades after he scored the perfect international hattrick against Timor Leste for Malaysia. But despite scoring four goals in two matches, he was still unable to convince Durakovic to give him a chance in the starting line-up.
Over the years that he has managed and coached in the Super League, Durakovic is not known as a coach who would chop and change his line-ups from match to match. He has a tendency to stick to a tried and tested formula even at the expense of players in rich vein of form, Shahrel in this particular case.
Every coach uses and sees different values in a player and it is well within Durakovic's prerogative to decide when and where to use Shahrel. But if the former Nakhon Ratchasima FC player continue to progress, he will be soon be forcing Durakovic's hands into giving him more starts.
Missing the fulcrum in the heart of the midfield
This was a problem which afflicted both teams as Durakovic and Devan both felt the absence of key names in their respective central midfield. Sergio Paulo Nascimento (Serginho) was missing for PJ City while Perak was without the suspended Leandro dos Santos. In their stead were Satish Krishnan and Kenny Pallraj but neither proved to be the perfect foil for their midfield partners.
Barathkumar Ramaloo and Bae Beom-geun were finding it hard to cope without the physical presence of Serginho and overcompensated defensively, which put paid to PJ City's hopes of getting more men in attacking positions. While Kenny tried, he did not have the same calming influence in the centre of the pitch as his more illustrious team mate could provide.
Misfiring fowards costly in relegation battle
It was a match with very few chances for either side and the final result means that PJ City will be left beating themselves as to how they could have let the chances to score slip. The home side was dominant in the second half, even after S. Subramaniam's dismissal but just could not breach Perak's defence.
Chances did fall to Devan's team especially after the introduction of Safee Sali who seems to work well being the link man between midfield and attack. Pedro Henrique and Washingston Brandao were guilty of missing gilt-edged chances and they will need to improve in the coming weeks or PJ City could be staring at a quick return to the Premier League.
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