Duel up north for ACL spot


On the other side: Former Selangor striker Ifedayo Olusegun now plies this trade with rivals Kedah.

PETALING JAYA: It will be a duel for a place in the AFC Champions League when Selangor take on Kedah tomorrow.

The Red Giants’ coach Tan Cheng Hoe now wants his forwardline to step up even more at the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Setar.

A win would make the path to the continental stage smoother for Selangor but defeat could see Kedah seizing the opportunity to go second and get closer to that spot.

Selangor are second in the league now with 55 points from 24 games, two points ahead of third-placed Kedah, who have 53 from 24 matches.

Cheng Hoe, who once coached Kedah from 2014-2017, said his attackers – Colombian striker Ayron Del Valle and winger Faisal Halim – are already doing a great job, but will have to do more.

“Ayron Del Valle is the league’s top scorer while Mickey (Faisal) has been good for club and country. We need them to continue the form they are in and give their all against Kedah,” said the 55-year-old.

“If these two are on a roll, the others will surely step up too. The win against Perak (4-0) helped us in terms of motivation and momentum.

“Our players are free from injuries and suspension. That is good for us.”

Cheng Hoe is aware of the threat posed by Kedah, led by Nafuzi Zain. The Canaries have some of the most mobile midfielders in the league in Bahraini international Moses Atede and Filipino international Manuel Ott. They also have a potent striker in Nigerian Ifedayo Olusegun who once played for Selangor.

Argentinian winger Manuel Hidalgo can also be a tough customer on his day.

“We know Kedah’s form at Darulaman. They held JDT 3-3 in Alor Setar. That was one impressive performance,” said Cheng Hoe.

“We have to be mindful about our offensive transition. One slight mistake and Kedah can punish us with their quick passing.

“The likes of Ott, Hidalgo and Dayo (Olusegun), we have to be mindful, really, really mindful.”

Asked about the prospect of facing his former club, Cheng Hoe said: “Kedah is always in my heart. The time I spent with them, the players we developed and games we played, are all etched in my heart.

“But now, I am focused on Selangor.”

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Football , Super League , Kedah , Selangor , Tan Cheng Hoe

   

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