Southeast Asia Malaysia

An Early Final, the Klang Valley Derby, and An Underdog Plagued with Unpaid Wages – Clubs Brace for Malaysia Cup Knockouts

The 2021 Malaysia Cup group stages are now done and dusted, with eight teams advancing out of their groups and into the knockouts. The quarterfinals of this year’s Malaysia Cup servers up two tasty ties with favorites Johor Darul Ta’zim and Kedah Darul Aman going up against each other, as well as the latest chapter of the Klang Valley Derby between Selangor FC and Kuala Lumpur City.

Defending Malaysia Cup champions JDT did short work of their group, winning all six of their matches to utterly dominate Group D. The Southern Tigers scored 14 goals and conceded only one in their group stage campaign and it seems that Benjamin Mora’s men are set to defend the title that they’ve won last time out.

However, Kedah’s 2-0 defeat away to Melaka United in their last group stage match ensured that the fellow tournament favorites would have the unenviable task of stopping JDT in the quarterfinals. Widely regarded as one of the few teams in Malaysia who are able to go toe-to-toe with the Southern Tigers, league runners-up Kedah’s quarterfinal tie against JDT can be billed as “an early final,” as both teams were heavily touted to encounter each other deep into the competition, maybe even the final proper.

Another potentially tasty tie is the Klang Valley Derby between Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. The former finished as runners-up of their group with four wins and two defeats from their six matches, while the latter won their group undefeated, winning four and drawing twice.

Rivalry clashes are always something to excite the fans and with the limited reintroduction of fans into stadiums following the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a fiery atmosphere is expected as both Selangor and Kuala Lumpur square off against one another for a ticket to the Malaysia Cup semifinal.

As the only side from the 2021 Liga Premier Malaysia remaining in the competition, Sarawak United were faced with an unenviable task as they are set to take on Terengganu FC for their quarterfinal tie. Having won promotion into the Liga Super in the 2021 season, Sarawak United have shown that they have what it takes to duke it out with the big boys following wins against Liga Super sides Penang FC and Sri Pahang FC as well as forcing Kuala Lumpur to a draw in the group stages.

However, the Golden Hornbill’s attention are currently divided between the Malaysia Cup and the ongoing financial crisis occurring within the club. A number of Sarawak United’s players have voiced their complaints to the Professional Footballers Association of Malaysia (PFAM) in regards to them having yet to receive their salaries and bonuses that came with winning matches and promotion to the Liga Super.

So far the Sarawak United players and staff members have shown class and professionalism amidst their financial plight by dishing out impressive performances after impressive performances in the Malaysia Cup, but sooner than later they need to find their way out of their predicament. Having yet to be paid for a staggering three months, everyone associated with Sarawak United is hopeful that they will not let their off-field issues get the best of them as they set their sights on claiming Terengganu’s scalp, with the Turtles having dominated the likes of Selangor, Kuching City, and Perak FC to win their group.

Last but not least, the final Malaysia Cup quarterfinal match saw Melaka United take on Sabah FC, with the latter appearing in their first Malaysia Cup knockout match in 10 years.

The first leg of the Malaysia Cup quarterfinals will be played on November 14th, with the second leg being contested four days later on November 18th.