BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
One of the two round 12 Super League matches that will take place this Tuesday will be between second-last Sarawak and fifth-placed Selangor at the Sarawak State Stadium, two sides with almost similar recent forms.
Against Selangor, Sarawak will be playing their third consecutive league match at home, having hosted Perak and Kelantan in the previous rounds while inversely, this is Selangor's third straight league match on the road.
The Crocodiles' most recent form has been rather underwhelming, having recorded two draws and three defeats in their last five league matches. Although they have not picked up three points at home at all this season, the fact that they managed to tie Perak and Kelantan in their last two home matches should provide the Red Giants boss Maniam Pachaiappan with an idea of the challenge that the home side will be mounting on Tuesday.
Selangor meanwhile have collected one win, two draws and two defeats in their five most recent league matches, with the solitary win coincidentally scored against Sarawak, in their round nine match at home in April.
The latest form of David Usop's charges at home is also similar to their overall current form, as is Selangor's away form when compared to their overall current form.
Out of their last five encounters, the Red Giants have recorded three victories over the Crocodiles, with the remaining two matches having ended in draws. The last time Sarawak defeated Selangor was in 2014, in the FA Cup, and their last win over Selangor in front of their own fans had taken place even earlier, in the 2012 Malaysia Cup.
Judging by Sarawak's lineup in their most recent matches, David is likely to pick all of his foreign players save for South Korean attacker Jong-Ho Lee. He is likely to field skipper Ronny Harun, goalkeeper Shahril Sa'ari, defenders Hairol Mokhtar and Dzulazlan Ibrahim, Tommy Mawat Bada and midfielder Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak.
Maniam meanwhile have a strike-force concern due to the absence of target man Forkey Doe, and a possible injury to attacker Juliano Mineiro. Misfiring Adam Nor Azlin is likely to start in front alongside Victor Astafei, with the support of young wingers Kannan Kalaiselvan and Syahmi Safari.
On top of his lineup concern, Maniam will also do well to keep an eye on his defenders Bunyamin Omar and Ugo Ukah. The last time they played Sarawak in Kuching, in a league encounter last year, the two got into a bizarre altercation with each other towards the end of the match, resulting in the Nigerian's sending off. A repeat of the incident on Tuesday will certainly doom the Red Giants' chances of coming away with points from the match.
With the attacking concern faced by Selangor, and Sarawak's most recent form at home, expect the match in Kuching to end in a draw. But if the Crocodiles could score first against the Red Giants, they can probably push on for their first league win at home of the season.