# ‘We do not fear playing JDT’ – Elavarasan
# ‘PKNS is just a small club team’ – Elavarasan
# Battle of the Argentines in FA Cup Final
By Rizal Abdullah
On paper star-studded Johor Darul Takzim are the hot favourites to win this Saturday’s FA Cup final against Selangor outfit PKNS FC – a Premier League club.
The final will be played at the newly renovated and upgraded Shah Alam Stadium – a stadium of many Finals in Malaysian football.
Even in the stands some 50,000 odd JDT supporters will drown the 10,000 odd PKNS supporters if they distribution of tickets is anything to go by.
Interestingly, the Malaysian football final has become an “Argentine Affair” in many ways and the Latin Americans could decide the fate of their respective teams. Interesting?
Well it is interesting if one is to chart the journey of the men from Argentine who have become the pillars in their teams.
JDT, who created Asian and Malaysian football history last year when the Southern Tigers became the first team from Malaysia to win the second-tier AFC Cup with a 1-0 win over Istiklol FC in the final played in Dushanbe Stadium in Tajikistan.
On the local front JDT are two-time Malaysian Super League champions and have won the Charity Shield twice and with the players they have in their squad there is depth on the bench.
JDT’s twin strikers from Argentina – Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Juan Martin Lucero have plundered goals to take JDT where they are now. But so have PKNS’ Argentine hitmen Gabriel Guerra and Juan Manuel Cobelli. There is also their Chile-born Palestine international Matias Jadue.
At the helm of JDT is their much acclaimed Argentine coach Mario Gomez. His PKNS counterpart is E. Elavarasan, a former international who is “always cool” even in defeats.
“The pressure is on JDT…they are a big team with big names. They are playing a Premier League club side with any reputation. My players are fully focused on playing another Super League team,” said Elavarasan.
“We are not getting distracted by the reputation of our (FA) Cup final opponents. Playing a Super League does not fear us and we have proven this in our journey to the Final.”
Elavarasan is obviously referring to his team’s wins over Terengganu ( 3-1, second round) and Felda United (3-2, third round) and Perak in the two-leg semifinals (4-3 on aggregate) after a 2-1 win in the return-leg in Ipoh.
A win in the FA Cup final will give PKNS their first major title in Malaysian football. The Ants, as PKNS are known, won the Premier League in 2011 and the FAM Cup in 1978. 1979 and 2003.
PKNS are also in the running to qualify for the Malaysia Cup this year. This year’s Malaysia Cup format has been changed with the top 11 teams in the 12-team Super League qualifying for the premier tournament together with the top five teams in the Premier League at the half-way mark.