Moving on up: Felda's Edward Junior Wilson celebrates after scoring a goal in the match against DRB-Hicom in the Premier League at Selayang Stadium on Friday. Felda won the match 3-2. - BERNAMA
GEORGE TOWN: In just five days, Felda United have narrowed the gap on second-placed Penang from seven points to just one in the Premier League.
A 1-0 win over Kedah last Monday and an equally hard-earned 3-2 victory over DRB Hicom on Friday have seen the Planters breathing down the necks of the faltering Panthers.
Penang, who were not in action last Monday, fell 3-2 to Johor Darul Ta’zim II (JDT II) in Pasir Gudang on Friday.
Ahead of Monday’s matches, unbeaten Police lead the Premier League standings with 32 points, followed by Penang (26), Felda (25) and Negri Sembilan (21).
The momentum is clearly with Felda, who have won their last four league matches and are also through to the FA Cup semi-finals, to secure a top-two finish and win promotion to the Super League.
“I did not expect us to cut Penang’s lead from seven to one point in a single week. We did well to put the points on the board, but there are still 10 matches to go and anything can happen,” said Felda coach Irfan Bakti on Sunday.
“Police are way ahead right now, so our immediate target is to secure second spot and make a swift return to the Super League.”
Irfan, the former Terengganu and Selangor coach, sees the next five days as crucial for Felda’s hopes of overtaking Penang in the standings.
On Monday, the islanders take on Sabah in Kota Kinabalu before playing hosts to the unbeaten Police on Friday. After meeting PBAPP FC at the City Stadium in Penang, Felda welcome Sabah to the MBPJ Stadium on Friday.
“I believe this week’s matches will be the turning point of the season for us. The confidence level in the squad is high now and we intend to continue our good run by notching another two wins. Penang face tricky fixtures and we intend to be ready to capitalise on any slip-ups to take over second spot,” he said.
Felda are expected to name an attacking line-up, including Indra Putra Mahyuddin, K. Thanaraj, K. Soley, Edward Wilson and mid-season signing Ndumba Makeche, against PBAPP FC.