Pahang's defensive stalwart Razman Roslan (right) will miss the clash with JDT on Friday in Johor Baru due to suspension. - BERNAMA
PETALING JAYA: There will be a deep hole in Pahang’s defence when they take on Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) in their Super League showdown at the Larkin Stadium in Johor Baru on Friday.
Skipper and influential centreback Razman Roslan will miss the match after picking up his third yellow card of the season in the 1-0 home defeat by Selangor (1-0) at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan last week.
The Elephants will miss Razman’s experience. He played a pivotal role in the last two meetings against JDT – a 3-2 league win in Kuantan on Feb 7 and the 1-1 draw in the FA Cup semi-finals first leg at the Larkin Stadium on May 5.
“It’s a big blow to me to miss the match against JDT. It will be a huge test for our defence because JDT have a fierce set of strikers. One thing for sure is that our team will face a hot reception in Larkin,” said Razman.
In Razman’s absence, Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan is expected to partner Pakistan international Zesh Rahman with Jamaican Damion Stewart to ward off the danger posed by JDT’s Argentinian forward Luciano Figueroa and Mohd Amri Yahyah.
Razman is banking on his team-mates to rise to the occasion to wrest back the lead from Selangor. Pahang are now second on 28 points, three behind leaders Selangor.
“Losing at home to Selangor was a big blow. It was our first home loss in seven matches. We also lost our lead. We cannot afford a second consecutive defeat ... it will see us drift away in the chase for the title,” said Razman.
“We played JDT twice and on both occasions it was a close affair. Just like Pahang, JDT have a huge fan following at home. It is going to be one tough game,” added Razman.
Pahang midfielder Mohd Hafiz Kamal agreed with Razman, saying the Elephants cannot afford any more slip-ups in their bid to win the double - the Super League and FA Cup titles.
“We are on the right track in both competitions. It will be a waste to lose all that we have worked for since the beginning of the season,” said the national midfielder.
Hafiz said the defeat to Selangor was just a minor hiccup.
“We will claw our way back to the top again. There are seven more matches to play. We have been quite consistent and we should be able to give the stronger teams a run for their money,” said Hafiz.