Preview: Melaka v JDT

first_imgJDT start as clear favourites to end Melaka’s run in the Malaysia Cup Ooi Kin Fai Last updated 2 years ago 09:30 14/9/2017 Gabriel Guerra, Johor Darul Ta'zim, Melaka United Johor Southern Tigers Melaka United must aim for at least a home draw against JDT to ensure the quarterfinal return leg still remain as a contest It’s crunch time in the 2017 Malaysia Cup as the competition enters the knockout stage on Friday and it starts with Melaka United facing up against Super League champions, Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT).Among the four match-up in the quarterfinal stage, the greatest disparity between the two competing teams is undoubtedly this clash between Melaka and JDT. One has been crowned the league champions with matches to spare while another is still fighting for their lives to stay in the top division. Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Melaka has had a change of fortunes since Eduardo Almeida was appointed the new head coach in July, replacing the outgoing Eric Williams. The improvements have seen Melaka won four of their last eight matches that Almeida has been in charge, compared to the five in 21 games prior to that.Having struggled to find the back of the net in the early part of the season, Almeida seemed to have found a working formula going forward. 21 goals in those eight matches sees their average goals per game move up to 2.6 goals during his reign.Mid season transfer signings in Marco Simic and Felipe De Souza have chipped in with the goals as the likes fellow new signing in Norhakim Isa seemed to bedded in nicely in central midfield to provide support to arguably Melaka’s player of the season in Jeon Woo-Young.Almeida have an injury-free squad at the moment but will have to decide if recent returnees in Khair Jones, Nicholas Swirad and Jasmin Mecinovic are fit enough to play a part.For JDT, two defeats blighted their perfect record in the run of their last eight matches. All the other six matches have ended up with wins for the Southern Tigers, with an amazing 24 goals scored in that period. The two defeats came at the hands of Selangor, with both losses accrued during their visit to Selayang Stadium. Ulisses Morais has at least managed to right some of the mistakes against Selangor when they finally defeated the Red Giants last Saturday – their first in four attempts this season.Morais too has a fully fit squad to rely on, apart from the suspended Farizal Marlias and the recuperating Marcos Antonio. The Portuguese has used mixed teams in the earlier group stage but with the retention of the league title completed, may well opt to unleashed his preferred XI against Melaka.Safiq Rahim and Afiq Fazail only started from the bench against Selangor but both could come back in the starting line-up with the foreign trio of Gabriel Guerra, Gonzalo Cabrera and Mohammed Ghaddar spearheading the strikeforce.JDT have had the upper hand in the two matches that they have played each other this season and will rightfully go into this match as the clear favourites to advance to the semi-final. Melaka will be hoping that they could salvage some form of advantage from the home first leg before what is likely to be a baptism of fire next weekend when Larkin host the second leg. read morelast_img read more