BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
This Wednesday, round 13 of the Super League (MSL) will be played, with all six matches taking place on the same evening. It will be the final league round to take place before the competition takes a one-month Ramadan fasting month and Aidilfitri celebration break.
Selangor will host Pahang at the Selayang Municipal Stadium, a reverse of their April 15 fixture at the Darulmakmur Stadium, which ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
This would be the Red Giants first match at home in one and a half month, having played all their past three MSL matches on the road.
Maniam Pachaiappan's men are currently in fourth with 17 points, while Dollah Salleh's charges are second with 21 points.
In the previous round, the Red Giants held Sarawak to a 1-1 draw in Kuching, while the Tok Gajah fell to a 3-2 home defeat against Kelantan, their first home defeat at home this season.
The two sides' last encounter, in Kuantan last April, produced a dramatic battle. Juliano Mineiro opened the scoring for the visitors as early as the sixth minute, but skipper Matthew Davies equalised just five minutes later. Selangor took the lead again in the 66th minute through Forkey Doe's penalty, but defender Faisal Rosli, who gave away the penalty, turned saviour when he scored the equaliser two minutes from time.
Last week, with no MSL match taking place and the mid-season transfer window opened, the return of former golden boy Amri Yahyah hogged the headlines. The Malaysia captain rejoined his boyhood club from Melaka United, after three and a half season away.
Amri Yahyah. Photo by Zulhilmi Zainal/Goal Malaysia
Indonesia star Andik Vermansah meanwhile was re-registered in the competitions squad by Maniam, after the Indonesia winger was deemed to have made adequate recovery from his lengthy injury.
Also read: Andik excited at Amri's return
With Andik returning, one foreign player had to be released to make way for him, and Maniam decided that the import was Romanian attacker Victor Astafei. The 29-year old had scored three goals for the Red Giants ever since joining them at the start of the season, and Maniam described the decision as a difficult choice to make.
None of Selangor players are injured as of Tuesday, but Andik may not be fully fit to start or even feature for the Red Giants on Wednesday. After all, the Indonesian himself told Goal that he may need the coming break to work on getting back to full fitness.
All of Maniam's men will be eligible for the match, and face no suspension.
SELANGOR POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Although Andik's return tomorrow has been much-touted, it is quite unlikely for Maniam to start the diminutive speedster in the match, due to his lack of fitness. Amri meanwhile is likely to start in front alongside Forkey Doe, as he had been playing regularly for Melaka, with the remaining place in the three-pronged attack filled by Mineiro.
There will be little change everywhere else, with youngsters Kannan Kalaiselvan and Syahmi Safari on the wings, and Abdul Halim Zainal and Saiful Ridzuwan Selamat in central midfield. Rizal Fahmi Rosid, who scored a brilliant equaliser for the Red Giants against the Crocodiles two weeks ago, is likely to start again in defence alongside Ugo Ukah and captain Razman Roslan, protecting Khairulazhan Khalid's goal.
Maniam "surprised" by Amri's signing
| Forkey Doe to be retained by Selangor...for the time being
| Amri and Andik's return should bring back one key aspect missing from Red Giants' performance
| How Selangor could line up following Amri and Andik's return
Probable Selangor starting XI against Pahang