Perak FA kicked off their Malaysian Super League campaign on a rather decent note, gaining two wins, a draw and two losses from their first five outings.
The Seladangs got off to a morale-boosting start, as they completed a late 1-0 victory over Peter Butler’s T-Team FC in Lumut. After that, Azraai Khor brought his troops to face moneybags Johor Darul Takzim in Larkin.
The game was dominated by the home side and the Seladangs got two men sent off just before half time for bad tackles. However, Perak fought hard to stay in the game, and while they did ultimately lose 0-1 to Johor, the grit and determination shown were inspiring enough for the fans.
Next, they faced Felda United at home. Although the Seladangs were solid in defense their attacking department was a big let-down. The absence of key players like S. Chanturu and Karim Rouani was affecting them as they struggled to finish off key chances in the final third of the field.
Similarly, the game against Felda was pretty even but the Settlers were much more clinical upfront and they ended up snatching a 1-0 victory against the Seladangs.
Notwithstanding that Azraai Khor still has faith in his side’s capabilities, as he took them to Seremban to take on Negeri Sembilan at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Stadium on Saturday, January 19. This was a special occasion for Azraai as he had coached Negeri for two years and only parted company with them last year. However, it was business as usual and the boys delivered.
Failee Ghazali struck in the 94th minute to give Perak a dramatic last-gasp win over the Deers, taking them to six points from their first four games. On the back of that morale-boosting win, Perak returned home to face traditional rivals Selangor FA just three days later.
The Red Giants were brimming with confidence after beating league leaders Pahang just days before and were looking to take down the Seladangs as well. But contrary to expectation, it was Perak who dominated proceedings early on, as they constantly pressured Selangor with a wide array of passing arsenal.
Selangor did take the lead through Francis Forkey Doe in the second half though, but Perak rallied back to restore parity through Abdul Hadi Yahya’s penalty. The game finished 1-1. Had it not been for several refereeing mishaps, the result could have been different.
So after five pulsating matches in the Malaysian Super League, the Seladangs have collected seven points and are currently 6th in the league table. Not a bad start to the season, but there were several weaknesses that need to be rectified.
Defensively, the Seladangs seem to be rock solid, especially with Brazilian defender Rafael Novais marshalling it. He has, arguably, been our best player thus far and deserves all the plaudits coming his way. However, we have been shambolic offensively. Karim Rouani is still nursing an injury while Abdul Hadi Yahya struggled to regain his scoring touch. Failee seems to be inconsistent as well.
The Super League will now go on a three-week break, to give space for the national team matches to take place. Azraai Khor needs to use this break wisely, allowing his players to rest and recuperate and to be prepared for tougher matches ahead when the league resumes next month.