BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow onTwitter
After three weeks of international break, the Malaysian domestic football action resumes with the FA Cup quarter-finals this Saturday.
Four first leg matches will be played, and the fans' focus during the night will surely be on the encounter between Pahang and Johor Darul Ta'zim, at the Darulmakmur Stadium.
Coincidentally, the two sides have just recently met, with their March 3 Super League match at Larkin ending in a 3-2 win to the Southern Tigers.
But now that they are playing in front of the home crowd, expect Pahang to do some damage on Saturday. The Elephants' home record has been dominant, having won all five of their latest home matches, and conceded only one goal.
However JDT too are not too shabby on the road, having won four out of their latest five away domestic matches, with the remaining match ending in a defeat.
Both teams' home and away records in their previous five domestic matches are similar; four wins and one defeat.
Their latest head-to-head record favours the visitors. Out of their previous five matches, JDT have won the latest three matches, one ended in a draw, while Pahang have won one encounter.
But one record in the fixture shines the brightest in favour of the Elephants. Ever since their rivalry began in earnest in 2013, the Southern Tigers have won only once at the Darulmakmur. Pahang have beaten them five times at home, while the remaining match ended in a draw. And even then, the solitary Tigers' win at Darulmakmur happened in 2016, when the Elephants were undergoing a dismal season.
Pahang boss Dollah Salleh told the media that he wants his charges to focus on two things in the match; to avoid showing too much respect to their opponents and to use their home ground advantage.
"We can put up a fight, and I hope that my men will not show them (JDT) too much respect because it will only make our job harder," he told StadiumAstro.com.
“There’s no two ways about it. We must take full advantage of our home match. We’ve been getting that extra energy and support from the home fans.
“We will need all the support we can get to pull off a comfortable result for the return leg in Larkin (on April 23),” said Dollah as quoted by TheStar.com.
On Saturday, Pahang will surely look to edge JDT with a huge margin to give themselves an easier task in the away return fixture, while JDT will want to win the encounter, as a form of present for club owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, who very recently captured the Malaysian FA presidential seat.