With so many players injured, Selangor will once again be relying on Brazilian striker Paulo Rangel to deliver the goals.
PETALING JAYA: Selangor coach Mehmet Durakovic knows that beating T-Team on their home ground will not be easy, but a win will propel them to the top of the 12-team standings at the halfway point of the Super League.
The Red Giants take on T-Team tonight at the Sultan Ismail Stadium in Kuala Terengganu and Durakovic believes being at the top of the standings at the halfway stage of the season will be good for their title aspiration.
The Red Giants, third in the standings with 20 points, are two points behind leader Pahang, with Terengganu ahead of them on goal difference.
It will be a tall order to beat T-Team as the Red Giants are facing an injury crisis with several stalwarts on the crock list – midfielder K. Gurusamy (anterior cruciate ligament), Indonesian winger Andik Vermansyah (ankle and hamstring), defender Shahrom Abdul Kalam (groin) and striker Ahmad Hazwan Bakri (hamstring).
The Klang Valley giants will be banking on two foreign players for the match – Brazilian striker Paulo Rangel and Australian defender Steve Pantelidis.
Selangor’s fourth import player – the under-performing Brazilian midfielder Junior Aparecido – has been left behind for the trip to Terengganu.
Durakovic knows that expectations are high for the team, who have been Malaysia Cup champions a total of 32 times, to end their three-year silverware drought.
“It will be good to go to the top of the table at the halfway stage of the season and I hope the players will give their best for a win,” said the 48-year-old coach on Monday.
“We have almost 85% newcomers to the team this season and I can say everyone is working hard but our injury list is getting longer. Nevertheless, we will go out there for the full points to top the table.
“Junior is having some personal problem which has affected his performance and we have left him behind for this match. We will try to replace him in the current transfer window to bolster the squad.”
T-Team have a solid record at home this season, only losing one match to visitors Pahang last week. The Titans last week strengthened their team by signing Brazilian striker Leandro Dos Santos from Thai Premier League side Bangkok Glass FC.
“It’s not going to be an easy match ... T-Team have a wonderful record at home, losing only once and we are threadbare with injuries.
“They have brought in Dos Santos from Bangkok Glass who were the runners-up of the Thai FA Cup last season. I’m not sure whether he will play, but if he does it will be harder for us,” said the former Selangor great.