MSL2018 midterm report card: Pahang and Kuala Lumpur

Mohamadou Sumareh, Pahang
Pahang FA
The Super League is nearly at the mid-way stage of the season and with the league on a mini-break, time to reflect on each teams and who did well.

Team: Pahang
Current position: 3rd
Grade: B

The return of Dollah Salleh back to the bench heralded a new beginning for Pahang as they once again started the season as one of the potential candidates with the capbility to dethrone Johor Darul Ta'zim. Yet, almost the opposite happened as the transfer business became a mess for the Elephants.

Striker Sergio Ezequiel Unrein was signed but deemed not good enough right from the start. In came Francis Forkey Doe but that too did not last too long but that is more due to him being unlucky in picking up a long term injury. Centre back Alex Moraes was another who struggled to impress and was eventually overtaken by a local pairing in defence.

Cambodian star Chan Vathanaka made all the headlines after agreeing to move to Pahang that alas it was not a move that worked out particularly well for both parties. Vathanaka failed to show the form that saw him took Malaysia apart in the 2016 AFF Cup and an early termination of the contract was on the cards.

Patrick Cruz, Pahang

After the second week of matches, Pahang were down in 10th spot but Dollah rallied his troops and managed to get them climbing up the table. The partnership of Muslim Ahmad and Afif Amiruddin has flourished in defence while Matthew Davies continues to be the beacon of consistency at right back.

Forkey Doe's replacement in Patrick Cruz is fast becoming a fan favourite and his performance in the league has been a big factor in Pahang's rise to the top section of the table. Six goals in the league, Cruz is undoubtedly one of the standout players in the team thus far.

Perak may have edged their way in between JDT and Pahang but the latter still look to be the team that will push the Southern Tigers all the way to the 2018 Super League title. A car crash at the start but Dollah has steadied the drive and looks to push into overdrive in the second half of the season.

Team: Kuala Lumpur
Current position: 9th
Grade: B

Promoted to the Super League after winning the 2017 Premier League, KL were not expected to take the top division by storm and their performances have reflected as such. Yet, a couple of smart buys prior to the start of the season have seen them making a great fight of staying in the division.

Fabio Maciel da Silva remains the man in charge and for anyone who goes often to the KL matches, would have seen his temperament and body language at the side of the pitch. The Brazilian is an expressive character and one who does not shy away from a confrontation or the hard questions.

Aidil Zaquan, Indra Putra Mahayudin and Saifulnizam Miswan were the experience heads with plenty of Super League experience that were brought in to guide the younger players in the squad who are getting their first taste of top flight football in their career. 

Romel Morales, PKNS FC, Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Super League, 02052018

One look at KL's home result and it is a magnificent record. The only team in the league thus far to have beaten JDT, they have also won over Kedah and held Pahang to a draw - all at the comforts of the KLFA Stadium.

Yet, the away matches are the very reason why KL aren't higher up the table. Five matches on the road and all five of them have ended in defeats. Fabio faces a big task on his hands if he is to eventually secure a second Super League season for KL, and they will need to start picking up points on their travels.

Paulo Josue exudes the calm and creative talents but the real hub of the team is none other than Indra. The 36-year-old is now a central midfielder and uses his experience to read the game and be the leader to his team. For someone of his age, Indra can also be quick off the block and often times, put on the afterburners to initiate attacks for KL.