Melaka United will get to play in the Super League in 2018 after securing a 2-1 win over Selangor on the penultimate day of the 2017 league season. The win leaves T-Team FC, Sarawak and Kelantan as the three teams that will play for their place on the final day - to see who will join Penang in the Premier League next season.
When Eduardo Almeida took over in mid season, it looked like a lost cause for Melaka in their fight for survival. However, three straight wins including this one against Selangor, helped pushed them up the table as other teams faltered.
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The Portuguese has also found a working formula up front with Marco Simic firing in the goals as Jeon Woo-Young pulls the strings in midfield. The inclusion of Felipe de Souza has beefed up the potency of their attack with the team scoring 12 goals in those three matches.
"I feel very happy for everyone. We had a very hard job and hard work to arrive at this target. Thank you for the management for always trusting in me. We win 2-1 and we stay in the Super League and it's all that matter."
"We'll do everything to make a good game because we take it very seriously. Maybe there are some teams depending on us to fight for a result so we won't take it easy," said Almeida after the match in an interview with the host broadcaster.
With Melaka taking on Kelantan in the final match and Sarawak going up against T-Team, fans of the latter two teams will be hoping that Melaka do give it their all to win the match. It's not only Almeida who mentioned it was important to take the match seriously, Simic also echoed the same sentiment.
"If you see the second half of the season, maybe we are one of the top half team. There's still one more game. Now everybody can relax because we have achieved our target of staying in the Super League."
"I don't see the reason the players don't play 100% in the last game. It's a sport mentality to win every game. I don't worry about the team, I'm sure we'll play for 3 points," said Simic.
With eight goals to his name thus far in the Super League, Simic is eyeing to hit double figures and the professional in him will be aiming to do just that against Kelantan next month.