Penang look to SEA Games stars to fight relegation from MSL

While Malaysia Super League (MSL) champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) get ready to celebrate at Larkin Stadium, there will be contrasting scenes at the other end of the country as bottom-side Penang prepare to host T-Team on Wednesday night.

The Southern Tigers will have an open-bus parade after their match against strugglers Kelantan to celebrate a fourth consecutive MSL title.

But for Zainal Abidin Hassan's Penang, it is make or break in their three remaining matches as they hope for favours from others to stay in the top flight.

The odds are, however, heavily stacked against the island state side who are six points adrift from safety.

Englishman Ashley Westwood arrived with high expectations, having worked wonders Indian side Bengaluru FC, but failed to win a league match and left by mutual consent in March.

Zainal was roped in to revive the team's flagging fortunes, but even the experienced coach failed the fix the blatant deficiencies within the team.

But Penang can be optimistic of a home victory against an equally miserable Titans, who have lost five of their last six games and have conceded a league-worst 44 goals.

With their young midfielders Syamer Kutty Abba and Jafri Firdaus Chew also in confident mood after a good run at the Southeast (SEA) Asian Games, Penang must capitalise to keep their survival hopes alive.

But forward S. Kumaahran is unavailable, having undergone surgery on his knee after tearing his ACL while playing for Malaysia U22 in last month's SEA Games semifinal against Indonesia.

PKNS FC, one spot above T-Team in the league in seventh, travel to play Selangor at Selayang Stadium, with their striker Safee Sali on a mission to play on for another year with the Klang Valley-based side.

"I am happy with PKNS and want to stay with the club for another season," Safee told ESPN FC.

"I think we have done well this season with some good players coming through the ranks, plus a solid management backing the team. I feel I can contribute as long as my legs are willing for this team, and we can build further for next season."

While PKNS have little left to play for, Safee could do damage against his former team who are still harbouring hopes of making it to the AFC Cup.

Fourth-placed Selangor will need to replace Kedah in second position in order to do so. Other fixtures will see Felda United make the trip to face Kedah, while Sarawak, who are also in the drop zone, travel to play Pahang.

Wednesday MSL games

JDT vs. Kelantan

Kedah vs. Felda United

Selangor vs. PKNS FC

Melaka United vs. Perak

Penang vs. T-Team

Pahang vs. Sarawak