Spa­so­je­vic blow for Malacca

New Straits Times - - Sport -

FAC­ING a team as strong as Kedah in the Su­per League today without your main striker is not best way to in­spire con­fi­dence but Malacca will have to make do with Ilija Spa­so­je­vic’s ab­sence.

Spa­so­je­vic, who scored 27 goals in all com­pe­ti­tions as Malacca won the Premier League ti­tle last year, has just one goal to his name this year be­fore pulling a ham­string in Wed­nes­day’s 1-1 draw with Pe­nang.

The Mon­tene­grin striker missed Malacca’s 3-1 de­feat to Pa­hang last week­end with the same prob­lem and lasted less than 10 min­utes in Ge­orge­town be­fore hav­ing to go off.

His in­sis­tence in want­ing to play against Pe­nang has back­fired with coach Eric Wil­liams say­ing Spa­so­je­vic will be side­lined for a few weeks.

“Ilija has a sim­i­lar in­jury which forced him to miss the game against Pa­hang,” said Wil­liams af­ter the Pe­nang match. “I said to him have a rest for this match be­cause we have an­other im­por­tant match com­ing up, they are all im­por­tant matches.

“But he wanted to play and now he is bro­ken down again. I would say he wouldn’t be ready for a few weeks. It’s re­ally dis­ap­point­ing to lose your main striker in the first 10 min­utes. So we had to shuf­fle around a lit­tle bit and I thought the play­ers fought well.”

Fauzi Roslan, who re­placed Spa­so­je­vic against Pe­nang, is ex­pected to come into the start­ing line up against Kedah and link up with for­wards Amri Yahyah and Ser­gio Eze­quiel Aguerro at the Daru­la­man Sta­dium. Wil­liams also has Jeon Woo-Young avail­able af­ter the South Korean was not used against Pe­nang.

“Fauzi did okay, we still have Aguero who is ob­vi­ously tired be­cause he had not played in many weeks so hope­fully he can re­cover,” said Wil­liams in assess­ing his op­tions.

“Jeon comes back in af­ter rest­ing him. He could have played but I de­cided I did not want to do more dam­age to his in­jury. So hope­fully, he can re­cover quickly and face a strong Kedah team on their home ground.”

Malacca play their sec­ond game in a run of three away matches with a trip to Kuantan to face Pa­hang in the FA Cup third round to fol­low next week.

How­ever, Wil­liams’ side have done well on their trav­els by beat­ing Sarawak and Ke­lan­tan while snatch­ing a point against Se­lan­gor and Pe­nang to sit in eighth place in the stand­ings with eight points.

Kedah, on a 19-game un­beaten run since Au­gust, are com­ing off a 1-1 draw with Se­lan­gor af­ter con­ced­ing a late and con­tro­ver­sial equaliser which saw them drop a point be­hind new league lead­ers Pa­hang.

PIC BY MOHD AZREN JAMALUDIN

Darul Ta’zim’s Ah­mad Hazwan Bakri (right) and Pa­hang’s Matthew Thomas vie for the ball in a Su­per League match at Larkin Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

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