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PREVIEW: Mehmet back to face Selangor for the first time

Goal.com logo Goal.com 03-03-2017

BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter

The prodigal son returns to Selangor and for the first time in his footballing career, Mehmet Durakovic will go into the match with the mission to ensure that the Selangor team and fans will not be smiling at the final whistle.

Having served the Red Giants with distinction both as a player and then as a coach, Durakovic will have the strange feeling of being on the opposite bench. Now the head coach of Perak, Durakovic is preparing his Bos Gaurus side to recover from their devastating 2-4 home loss to Kelantan by ensuring that his team secure a good result at Selayang Stadium.

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The manner in which Perak capitulated in the second half against Kelantan would have sent alarm bells ringing within Durakovic and the non-functioning defensive structure will have to be fixed if he does not want a second defeat in the same week.

Time and again, Kelantan's Badhri Radzi was allowed to thread balls in the final third with little pressure being put on him - the pairing of Hafiz Kamal and Nasir Basharuddin struggled to provide the defensive shield to Perak's defence. This could see the reintroduction of Shahrul Saad who does possess stronger defensive acumen than his more established midfield peers.

For the home side, P. Maniam's side are riding high on a crest of wave after managing to stay undefeated in matches against teams that are arguably much stronger - in Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) and Kedah. The back three of Razman Roslan, Ugo Ukah and Rizal Fahmi are adjusting well to the new formation and their stingy defence have served Selangor well in recent weeks.

While solid at the back, it's a slightly different story on the attacking side. Victor Astafei and more recently, Julian Mineiro have both come up with the goals but the dependency on just two players could be the undoing of Selangor. The possible absence of Francis Forkey Doe against Perak is not something that Maniam would have preferred.

S. Veenod has been used further forward this season than what he has been accustomed to. There's no doubt that the Penang-born player has the eye to pick his runs well, but if he can improve on his shooting skills, Selangor will have one of the more potent attacking options in the league.

A win for Selangor will see them stay in the same third spot in the table but with Pahang facing a tough away tie at JDT, the Red Giants could reduce the gap to the top spot. For Perak, they will be hoping for a positive result so as not to be dragged into the bottom half of the table.

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