KANGAR: Any team missing their three top strikers would have been impotent in front of goal.
But not Perak who managed to defeat Perlis 3-2 away on Saturday without Frank Seator, Khalid Jamlus and V. Saravanan in the starting 11.
Midfielders Liew Kit Kong and Ricardo Silva were the toast of the Perak team after performing brilliantly in the unfamiliar roles of strikers in the match.
Kit Kong notched his first hat-trick for the silver state this season, with two of his goals orchestrated by Silva.
Seator has yet to return from international duty with Liberia while Khalid was used as a second-half substitute after failing to recover fully from fever. Saravanan was benched due to a loss of form.
I am proud of my players, especially Liew and Ricardo, who performed well as strikers. This game proved that Perak do not have to depend on certain players for goals. We have several players who are capable of producing the goods up front.
I will field a striker based on his current form, and not on past reputations. Liew is currently in good form, and that means he will continue as a goal-poacher, said Perak coach Toni Netto yesterday.
The win opened up a three-point gap between second placed Perak (on 21 points) and fourth-placed Perlis. Pahang still lead on 27 points with Selangor Public Bank third, one point behind Perak.
But the hectic schedule is expected to put paid to Peraks chances of closing down on the leaders as they have to play an average of one match every three days for the next three weeks.
We want to win on all three fronts the Super League, the FA Cup and the AFC Cup. That makes every match like a Cup final for Perak from now on.
It will be difficult for the players to cope, especially with the hot weather these days. We are not machines and are capable of slipping up. But I am happy with the players work-rate and commitment so far, said Netto.