KL shift focus to Premier League title race
KUALA Lumpur are turning their attention to Friday’s crucial Premier League match against Perak SEDC despite having still to face Perak in a Malaysia Cup match in Ipoh today.
The city side’s Malaysia Cup campaign is virtually over after Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Felda United in Selayang left them trailing their victorious opponents, who sit second in Group B, by six points and with a significantly inferior goal difference.
KL coach Fabio Magrao said his squad was stricken by a flu virus which accounted for their belowpar display against Felda and will be looking to rest his key players against Perak ahead of Friday’s encounter against Perak SEDC.
“We have to think about next game and next Friday against Perak SEDC,” said Magrao, whose team lead the Premier League standings with 38 points while Perak SEDC are fourth, a point behind.
“Forget about the Malaysia Cup, it is finished, done. We have to be clear that we have to recover for Perak, where we will still play to win. Away game, they are in good moment. It won’t be easy to play full game in our current condition.”
With Perak having secured a quarter-final berth, today’s match has the air of a meaningless game with Magrao promising plenty of changes.
“For sure a lot of changes because it’s impossible to play on Saturday, Tuesday and Friday and perform in three games,” said the Brazillian.
“It is impossible. Again I repeat they are sick and all are under medication, but it is not an excuse.
“Against Felda, we started well and had chances to score but then our performance suffered because it is normal when you are sick. I knew it would happen.”
Midfielder Nicolas Dul did not make the KL squad against Felda though Magrao fielded many of his main players including striker Guilherme De Paula, who scored KL’s only goal for his 23rd strike of the season.
“We had 16 players with flu and sore throat plus three staff and me,” added Magrao. “Dul could not play due to high fever.
“At least seven or eight players should not have played but how do you take them out without replacing them. I know they will feel tired because they are sick.”
Perak coach Mehmet Durakovic may also make wholesale changes after Saturday’s 3-1 win over PKNS in Shah Alam ensured a top-two finish in the group.