It is set to be a tantalising clash between the Selangor Selection and Singapore Selection at the 17th Sultan of Selangor’s (SOS) Cup at Shah Alam this Saturday, with both sides tied on eight victories each. FOX Sports Asia take a look at the key battles that may decide a ninth triumph for either side…
Kento Fukuda vs Rufino Segovia
If the Singapore Selection are to stand a chance of victory, they have to stop Rufino at all costs. One of the two Selangor players in an otherwise PKNS-dominated Selangor Selection team, the 33-year-old Spanish forward has been in prolific form for the Red Giants this term – scoring nine and 19 goals in the Malaysia FA Cup and Malaysia Super League (MSL) to win the Golden Boot in both competitions.
The task to keep the former Atletico Madrid and Kitchee man quiet should fall on the shoulders of Fukuda, who is currently the captain of Warriors FC in the Singapore Premier League (SPL). The 28-year-old Japanese not only provides a commanding presence at the heart of defence, but is also a good source of goals at the other end with three goals this term.
Emmeric Ong vs Faris Ramli
History is in the making in this year’s edition, with Faris set to become the first Singaporean to feature for the Selangor Selection. The 25-year-old has carried his scintillating form for Home United in the SPL last season forward into 2018 where he was arguably the best MSL ASEAN import with PKNS – scoring six league goals and putting the fans on the edge of their seats with some skillful displays. Ironically he was on the other end last May, scoring a penalty to help the Singapore Selection triumph 3-2 on home soil.
He will be up against his former LionsXII teammate Ong, who has developed into one of the most reliable local defenders since joining Warriors FC in 2015. The 27-year-old right-back is not only a neat tackler but is also capable of making surging overlapping runs to support the attack.
Wataru Murofushi vs Romel Morales
Albirex Niigata FC (S) have enjoyed an outstanding campaign this year by winning their third straight SPL title and it is no surprise they have three players in the Singapore Selection, with one of them being their inspirational captain Murofushi – who has eight goals and three assists to his name. With a playing style not dissimilar to that of Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, the 23-year-old has been the driving force of the White Swans midfield with the ability to score rasping goals from distance.
He will be locking horns in the middle of the park with Colombian midfielder Morales, who has been one of the unsung heroes behind PKNS’ historic third-placed finish in the MSL this term. Similarly, the 20-year-old loves to make surging runs from midfield to link up with the attackers. Thus we should see a good battle between these two midfield maestros.
Adam Swandi vs Mahali Jasuli
Another Albirex player in the mix is Adam, one of the first two Singaporeans to be signed by the Japanese satellite club. The 22-year-old playmaker has arguably brought his game to another level since joining the White Swans, with two goals and seven assists this term pushing the case for him to be included in Singapore’s AFF Suzuki Cup squad for November.
On the opposite flank will be Mahali, who was once described as Malaysia’s very own Cafu for his attacking forays from right-back. Deployed as a roving right winger by Datuk K. Rajagopal on loan at PKNS this season, the 29-year-old has took to his new position like how fish takes to water with three goals in all competitions.
Shuhei Hoshino vs Zac Anderson
The biggest threat to Selangor Selection ought to be in the form of SPL top scorer Hoshino, who has recorded 19 goals in 21 outings. The muscular 22-year-old is the complete forward, who combines burly play with the finesse to produce a variety of finishes.
However, if there is one man who can stop the Albirex sharp-shooter, it could be Australian defender Anderson. Eight centimeters taller than Hoshino at 1.91m, the towering 27-year-old patrols the backline well with his sharp reading of the game and ability to put in key interceptions. It is all setting up nicely for a blockbuster duel between these two.