By Eric Samuel
PETALING JAYA: The Red Giants are set for another roller-coaster ride when they play five matches in 16 days – including travelling to Sabah and Kolkata in West Bengal.
Selangor will be in Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday for the FA Cup second round tie against Sabah and in Kolkata for the AFC Cup opening Group H game against Kingfisher East Bengal FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Feb 27.
Selangor coach Irfan Bakti admitted that it would be another stern test for his men after they had passed last month’s hectic playing schedule with flying colours.
They lost only one of the six matches in an 18-day period.
“This is almost identical to the situation in January, except that this time we have some real big matches along the way,” said a concerned Irfan.
After their FA Cup tie against Premier League side Sabah (on Tuesday), Selangor will host treble winners Kelantan (on Feb 15) in the Super League at the Shah Alam Stadium.
Then, they play Armed Forces (Feb 19) and PKNS FC (Feb 22) before opening their AFC Cup campaign against Kingfisher East Bengal FC.
Irfan said the three-week break had done his players a world of good.
“Those injured have had some much-needed rest and some of our key players should be back in action soon.
“But we have some tough matches lined up. It will be tough, but we’ll take it one game at a time,” said Irfan, whose team are third in the Super League with 10 points – behind Armed Forces (10) and Pahang (12).
Energetic midfielder K. Gurusamy is back from a knee injury and expected to start against Sabah while S. Kunalan, who has been out for six weeks with a groin injuy, is set to return for the home game against Kelantan on Feb 15.
“I hope the boys will be able to avoid any injuries as we can’t afford to have a weakened side against Kingfisher East Bengal, who are one of the most successful clubs in India,” said Irfan.
Selangor won’t have the services of the suspended Mohd Amri Yahyah for the matches against Sabah and Kelantan.
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