KL shift fo­cus to Premier League ti­tle race

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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.

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