PETALING JAYA: Old foes Pahang and Kedah will be on a mission to outdo each other at the Darulmakmur Stadium in Kuantan tonight to keep pace with the Super League title contenders this season.
Both teams have had a rousing start with new coaches Fandi Ahmad turning around Pahang’s fortunes and former Terengganu trainer Nafuzi Zain doing likewise for Kedah.
After five matches, Kedah have 12 points with four wins and a defeat, and Pahang are unbeaten after registering two wins and three draws to secure nine points.
Both coaches have mutual respect for each other but Fandi should fancy a win as they have home advantage and will be optimistic following the return of striker Lucas Silva from injury.
Silva and chief striker Kpah Sherman’s roles will be crucial to ensure Pahang continue one of their best starts to the Super League in more than five years.
Fandi said the presence of their former players Lee Tuck and Manuel Hidalgo in the Kedah line-up cannot be taken lightly.
“We are playing at home and the players need to improve their performance to ensure that we end up with three points,” said Fandi.
“They have two of our former players and we need to be wary of the danger from them. We have to be aggressive in attack to put them under pressure.”
Fandi also lamented Pahang’s tendency to let their guard down after starting well in the first half.
It remains to be seen if he has fixed the problem as Kedah are capable of punishing the Elephants tonight.
Meanwhile, Nafuzi said Pahang have made a solid start and will be hard to beat at their own den.
“We want to try and earn three points but it is going to be tough. Pahang are riding high and are very confident at the moment,” said Nafuzi.
“Our players need to go all out as we are playing away against a team who are still unbeaten in the league.”
In the other matches tonight, Negri Sembilan face Kelantan in Seremban while Kuching City host Police who have also made an impressive start this season.