If anyone witnessed the manner in which Perak outclassed Johor 3-0 at Lumut recently, they would probably not believe that the same side lost 3-1 to Felda United just three days later. It is not only baffling but confusing as well.
Ultimately, it boils down to whether we have a capable squad or not. With the addition of Paulo Rangel in April, we have looked deadly upfront and there is no excuse for our midfield, with Perak spending a bomb to boost it with big names like Chanturu and Yong Kong Yuong during the off-season. These players have been struggling to maintain the high standards that are required of them. Their consistency, I must admit, is suspect.
In that game against Johor Darul Takzim, our midfield was deadly, playing with such fluidity and passing the ball around with tremendous confidence. We did excellently against big name players on the Johor side and that in itself was motivating enough. A 3-0 victory went on to become a dream result and Azraai Khor Abdullah was already hoping to see his men retain the confidence and finish the season strongly. Unfortunately, this did not happen. The yo-yo performance came again three days later when they were trounced by Felda United.
The worrying bit was not the result but rather the sudden shift in force and momentum that seemed to affect the team at that moment. Suddenly, we could not contain the opposition’s midfielders, struggled for creativity and totally deserved the defeat. Even coach Azraai was befuddled by the result.
“I can’t understand why this yo-yo performance is happening,” he said. “One game, we are so excellent and the next one goes down the drain.
“And all of this is happening right in front of my eyes. We’ve tried so many things but I don’t quite know the problem yet, whether or not it’s an attitude issue.”
And just as you would rightly expect, Perak bounced back from that defeat to Felda with a home victory over Negeri Sembilan just days later. Better still, the win came with Perak playing at the Perak Stadium for the first time this season since the floodlights were upgraded recently.
The Seladangs could have scored six or seven goals on the night had their forwards not made a mess of the many scoring opportunities.
Interestingly, the match also marked the debut of Perak youngster, G. Mugenthiran, who was given a run in the side following his impressive performances for the President Cup squad. Azraai Khor only had one fit striker for the game and decided to make use of the youth thus giving the 20-year-old player a chance to prove his worth at the senior level.
The season now descends into an interesting period where every point will be crucial. The Seladangs are not entirely safe from the relegation zone. Coach Azraai Khor and the players know this. If they continue with their yo-yo pace they are in danger of being dragged down into the abyss. The ball, as they say, is in their court.