Selangor and Pahang seeking FA Cup glory in Bukit Jalil

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Saturday’s FA Cup biggie between Pahang and Selangor holds much for the two Super League teams who charted difficult paths en route to the final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

The Red Giants had a much easier task in the semi-finals against PKNS FC with a 5-1 win on aggregate after winning the home-leg 4-0 before registering a 1-1 draw at the Shah Alam Stadium in the return leg.

The Elephants, however, endured a more difficult path but did well enough to hold on for a 1-1 stalemate against PKNP (Perak SEDC) in Kuantan despite playing an understrength side due to suspensions to three key players – skipper Matthew Davies, Nor Azam Azih and Safuwan Baharudin.

Pahang coach Dollah Salleh, however, played his strategies right in the away-leg at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh to win 2-1 for advance 3-2 on aggregate.

The pain of losing last year’s final 3-2 to Kedah despite playing with only 10 players after a red card, is very much the motivating factor for Dollah and company against high riding Selangor whose form in the FA Cup has caught many by surprise.

Dollah is never a person to panic or throws in the towel and he is well prepared to face Selangor for the first silverware of the 2018 season.

Both teams have their trump cards with Selangor having their Spanish sharpshooter Rufino Segovia, who single-handedly assured his team a place in the semis when he fired a hat-trick in the first-leg semifinal.

At the heart of the Selangor backline is the towering Brazilian centreback Willian Pacheco but he will have to undergo a late fitness test for an injury he picked up in the semi-finals.

However, the ace in the pack for Selangor is the evergreen Amri Yahyah – who is the playmaker and can change the tide in his team’s favor.

Pahang has their Nigerian striker Austin Amutu who was a new signing for the injured Francis Forkey Doe. There is Issey Nakajima and Mohamadou Sumareh, both known for their jinking runs on the flanks.

Former international Norshahrul Idlan Talaha has hit form at the right time and Dollah can count on the Terengganu-born but he is likely to sideline Brazilian hitman Patrick Cruz as he can field only four foreigners in the FA Cup final.

“We will not be lulled into complacency against Selangor. This is the Cup Final that means a lot to both teams. We have our strategies to check Selangor,” said Dollah. RIZAL ABDULLAH

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