KEEPING FAITH: Coach unlikely to make changes after good show in Terengganu
AMRI Yahyah and Bunyamin Umar return from suspension against T-Team in Shah Alam today to provide Selangor a lift in their quest for a 33rd Malaysia Cup but they may have to make do by starting from the bench,
Coach Irfan Bakti Abu Salim, under pressure to deliver a title for Selangor this season, may stick with the same line up which defeated T-Team in Kuala Terengganu on Tuesday, their first in Group D.
Amri and Bunyamin have completed the three-match bans handed down by the FA of Malaysia for incidents involving Kelantan striker Mohammed Ghaddar in a Super League match on June 29 which were missed by the referee.
The absences of Bunyamin and Amri had a negative effect on Selangor's performances in their first two matches -- a 2-1 defeat to Sarawak in Kuching and a 2-2 draw with Premier League runners-up Pahang at home.
But now that Irfan has a found a balance to his side, which does not include striker Rozaimi Abdul Rahman who was dropped on Tuesday, forward Amri and defender Bunyamin could struggle to reclaim their places in the team.
In fact, loan signing S. Veenod from Universiti Sains Malaysia will retain his place in the hole behind striker Bosko Balaban for the visit of T-Team, who have lost all three of their meetings with Selangor this season.
"Amri and Bunyamin are available after serving their suspensions but I will only decide if they are to play after today's (yesterday's) evening session.
"The players did well against T-Team and it will be hard to drop anyone.
"I cannot simply put them in because Venood also did well as a back-up to Bosko and I may retain him in the side," said Irfan yesterday.
Irfan, who steered Selangor to third place in the Super League, admitted the team struggled initially without Amri and Bunyamin.
"Yes, it affected the performances a little but I'm happy with how the team played in Kuala Terengganu.
"Now we have all our players available with one exception so we'll going for another win," said Irfan, who still has defender Asraruddin Putra Omar sidelined with injury.
Left-back Adib Aizuddin Latif will continue to deputise for Asraruddin, who has reportedly attracted the interest of Spanish fifth division club Internacional and Belenenses of the Portuguese second division, while Nasriq Baharom will keep his centre-back position ahead of Bunyamin.
Meanwhile, Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak is set to hand striker Mohammed Ghaddar his first start in the tournament against Armed Forces in a Group B match in Kota Baru.
The Lebanon international came on for Afiq Azmi at half-time against Forces in Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Selayang but his good build-up play was negated by his poor decision to ignore better-placed teammates and trying to score from impossible angles.