TM Piala Malaysia 2021: Selangor Aware Of The Bos Gaurus Amok In Ipoh

Selangor FC will head to Ipoh tonight for the final Group B matchday of the TM Piala Malaysia 2021 against Perak FC. Although qualification to the knockout stages as group runner-up has been secured early by Karsten Neitzel's charges, it does not mean that their final group match will be a walk in the park as it still comes with its own challenges.

While encounters between the two sides have always been feisty affairs, the 2021 season has been in favor of the Red Giants so far. They were victorious in the Super League (3-1 April 10, 3-0 August 21), as well as in the previous cup fixture (1-0, September 26) and tonight they will get the chance to make it four wins out of four encounters.

But never underestimate a team playing with nothing to lose. Having been relegated from the league with cup knockout stage qualification no longer a possibility, tonight's encounter will be the Bos Gaurus' last match of the season and surely they are looking to bid farewell to the 2021 season on a positive note, in front of their own supporters.

And that home advantage too will be something that the visitors will have to overcome, considering that prior to the August 2021 win, Selangor had been playing away to Perak three consecutive times without a win.

There will be other hurdles on Selangor's part too, in terms of player availability. Last Sunday both center-backs Ashmawi Yakin and Sharul Nazeem had to be withdrawn due to injuries.

Long-term absentees include Brendan Gan, Halim Saari, Manuel Konrad, and R. Dinesh, while recent injury doubts Ashmawi, Shahrul, Wan Zack Haikal, Oliver Buff, and Ifedayo Olusegun are expected to be sidelined against Terengganu.

Still unavailable are young guns Mukhairi Ajmal, Harith Haiqal, Zikri Khalili, and Sikh Izhan, who after helping Malaysia U-23 qualify for the 2022 AFC U-23 Asian Cup finals, are currently undergoing quarantine after returning from Mongolia.

Vice-captain Safuwan Baharudin meanwhile has joined up with the Singapore national team for the Lions' two upcoming friendly matches, which will be held during the FIFA international window.

This means that a limited number of key players will be available tonight, but it is nevertheless a chance for the boss to provide last-minute opportunities for the backup or younger squad members to shine before they embark on a tough journey through the knockout stage.

Regardless of Karsten's plans for Saturday, fans should know that the objective remains the same: to bag the three points.

"I will give match practice to the players who haven't been playing often recently, or those who have just come back from injuries.

"[But] it's a game played for points and we will prepare for it seriously. It's not a friendly match for us, it's a group game and there are three points to be won. It's our job to do our best every time. What's important is not who starts in the match, but the players' attitude when the match starts," explained the boss.

We are also glad to know that a number of the Red Giants faithful will be joining us in Ipoh for a middle-of-the-week awayday. To our traveling supporters, have a safe journey and enjoy the game. Our fans' dedication always keeps us humble and working harder, on as well as off the pitch. 

But tonight, the work is done on the pitch, and Selangor FC will be gunning for a win from what is expected to be yet another tough encounter.

By Zulhilmi Zainal