Johor Darul Ta'zim will travel to Kuantan to face Pahang in the first leg of the 2018 Malaysia Cup quarterfinal on Sunday and it promises to be a cracker. There's no beating around the bush, among the four match-ups, this is the one that gets the fans drooling.
It's the clash between arguably the two teams that over the recent years, have been major contenders for major trophies in Malaysian football. The matches between the two teams hardly ever disappoint in terms of entertaining and Sunday's match could be yet another classic.
For one player who has been there right from the start in 2013, Aidil Zafuan believes that it is the rivalry between the two teams that make the match such an intruiging prospect.
"We've had a strong rivalry since 2013 and it was due to many reasons. Both had good squads in the sense that local players were experienced and were national team players. The imports were the best around as well and JDT and Pahang had hardcore and passionate fans."
"There's perhaps an added motivation because of the rivalry. The turning point for me was in the 2014 Malaysia Cup final. I never wanted to lose again, so I found an extra drive everytime we face each other. Even if it was a friendly match.
"We've defeated them many times the Malaysia Super League and did so again twice this year, which was the last two times JDT and Pahang met. We'll put aside the so-called Cup record and start a new run," said Aidil in an interview published on Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page.
Earlier this season, Pahang knocked out JDT from the FA Cup by winning the second leg at Tan Sri Dato Hj Hassan Yunos Stadium after a scoreless draw at Darul Makmur Stadium in the first leg. The Elephants would no doubt take a repeat of that feat as they head into Sunday's clash.
JDT will be without the injured Fernando Marquez after his horrific injury in the final group stage match against MIFA. Hazwan Bakri is expected to step into the breach which means that JDT will miss the physical prowess of Marquez, with Hazwan very much a different type of player.
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