Hard hit Perak ready for JDT in Charity Shield

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foto – Malaysian Football League


Malaysia Cup champions Perak flew into Johor Bahru on Thursday for the season’s curtain raiser – the Charity Shield – against five-time Malaysian Super League champions Johor Darul Takzim at the Larkin Stadium on Saturday.

However, Perak’s Australian head coach Mehmet Durakovic is not too concerned with the absence of Brazilian hitman Gilmar da Silva (Filho) and Malaysian international Shahrel Fikri.

Filho, who scored 11 goals last season, will sit out the match to serve a one-match suspension for a red card offence against Terengganu in last year’s Malaysia Cup final while Shahrel is nursing an injury.

‘We are ready despite the setbacks. The absence of the two has not dampened the spirits of Bos Gauros. You don’t harp on players who are not available.

“There are others who can and have to do the job,” said Durakovic, adding that Perak will need to “cut out the respect” for JDT and take the game to their opponents.

“I must admit that JDT is the best team in the country. They have everything at their disposal but we have the spirit to challenge them on the field. JDT is in a class of their own.”

Perak have strengthened their backline by signing up the experienced former Autralian Under-20 international – the towering Zac Anderson who played for Kedah (2017) and PKNS FC (2018).

JDT head coach Luciaono Figueroa is not short on talent in his squad with equal depth on the bench. Who takes the field will not weaken the Southern Tigers in any department.

However, all eyes will be on controversial signing Akhyar Rashid whose previous team Kedah is not happy with the manner the talented striker left the Red Eagles to join JDT.

Kedah said their prized possession left the Red Eagles in a deal that was done through the “back door” and have taken the case to the Arbitration Court.

It is left to be seen if Akhyar will be in the first team or will start from the bench for his first biggie at the Larkin Stadium.

The Southern Tigers have also signed up big names Diogo Luis Santo, Aaron Niguez (Spain) and Mauricio dos Santos (Brazil) – all of whom came with strong credentials.

After a long absence the “Larkin Roar” is set to vibrate again on Saturday.

A win for JDT, who are the defending Charity Shield champions, will kick start their buildup to the AFC Champions League where they will play in Group E as direct qualifiers.

JDT will be at home to Korea’s Gyeongnam FC at the Larkin Stadium on March 12.  RIZAL ABDULLAH 

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