PREVIEW: Negeri look to home advantage to overturn first leg deficit against Pahang

Negeri Sembilan FA
Can Negeri Sembilan's home advantage help them overturn their slim first-leg FA Cup semi-final deficit to Pahang this Saturday?

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Following their slim 1-0 win at home in the first leg of their FA Cup semi-final tie almost two weeks earlier, this Saturday Pahang will travel to the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium, Seremban for the return fixture.

The first leg almost ended in a goalless draw, until an Annas Rahmat own goal gave the home side the lead 10 minutes from time.

This Saturday, the hosts need to overcome the deficit, and win, at home in order to make their first FA Cup final appearance since 2010, while the visitors need to either avoid from conceding or extend the margin in order to go to Shah Alam.

However, both sides' current forms are sure to make things harder for the both of them.

Just like in the first leg, both teams head into the second on the back of mediocre forms. Both sides have only played one league match since the first leg, with neither one of them winning the matches. Pahang fell to a shock 3-2 defeat to Kelantan at home, while Negeri were held to a 1-1 draw by strugglers ATM.

The Deers have drawn four and lost one of their past five matches, with the solitary defeat to the Elephants in the first leg, while Pahang have won one (against Negeri), drawn two and lost two.

But when broken down according to latest home and away matches, the statistics paint both sides into more formidable outfits. Negeri have won four and drawn one of their last five matches at home in all competitions. Pahang meanwhile have won three and lost two of their latest matches, and those two defeats came against current Super League leaders JDT.

Azrif Nasrulhaq, Johor Darul Ta'zim, Faizal Rosli, Pahang, FA Cup, 23/04/2017

JDT vs Pahang, FA Cup quarter-final second leg. Photo from Pahang FA Facebook

Although the Tok Gajah have come away the winners in all of their five latest encounters against the Deers, Negeri have won three out of five of their latest encounters in Seremban.

Negeri boss Asri Ninggal told Sinar Harian that their current top-scorer, Bruno Suzuki maybe fit enough to start the match, despite initial injury concerns.

Pahang head coach Dollah Salleh meanwhile told The Star that all his men are available and raring to be selected for the match, and have forgotten their shock defeat to Kelantan.

“All the players want to be there in Paroi. They are serious in training and have been fighting for their places. I’m having a headache trying to name the final 18 because everyone is available and that makes it difficult for me,” said Dollah.