Here we go then guys, welcome back to part 2 of this season in the world of Malaysian side Negeri Sembilan. After a promising start, the aim here is to press on with the positive momentum and see where our great manager Cha Bum-Kun’s side can end up come the end of the league season, which will be seen over the course of part 2!
Just as a reminder of our 3 rules or to anyone who is new to The Far East Express, we run it this way to keep the exciting and flowing season to season for each player.
- A trophy must be won at the current club before moving on to a new club or league.
- To keep the next player guessing, no direct updates regarding results or moves can be given outside of each players chosen way of broadcast.
- When you take over on your turn, you can do whatever you want with the squad. Buy/sell who you want, change the tactics, the staff…treat it like your personal save!
There’s a good amount of games to get through, including the late transfer window. We will find out the team’s group opponents in the Malaysian Cup which I didn’t know still existed until now, all amongst some other bits and pieces!
Before the games are looked at, there wasn’t much news outside of that apart from the youth intake projection.
So a few positions there that exist within the current tactic which is good to see, defensive midfielders can usually slot into centre midfield as a ball winning midfielder or can be easily retrained there. But again, apparently its not going to be great however, a lot of high potential players came through last time, so there’s room for some optimism.
After the goals drying up a bit in April, the decision was made to develop the tactic into the 4-3-3 DM tiki taka to see if this would improve things in terms of chance creation.
Using an anchor man allows for two playmakers giving Xavi/Iniesta vibes, with the wingers higher it allows AA Rahim to play his preferred inverted winger role. The defensive shape and roles stay the same, it’s quite hard to find decent ball playing defenders or wing backs at this standard in Asia.
Into the games and it was a 0-0 draw with Perak where the boys were very unlucky not to win. An abundance of chances but none were taken however, there was a definite improvement in chance creation.
A big derby match versus Selangor was next, a busy game in terms of cards but that didn’t matter due to a 2-0 win! The goal scoring defender Jimmy Sudarma headed home (standard!) and winger Farizal Zamri grabbed himself a goal too in a battling performance.
It was time for the return fixture against Sabah and a strong performance brought everything but a goal, ending in a 0-0 draw. A very end to end game with Negeri Sembilan defending better of the two sides but again couldn’t find the net.
A massive game now against leaders Johor DT which will really gauge where the squad is at. Despite a spirited performance, a late collapse brought a 3-1 loss. Johor scored twice in the last five minutes as the defence caved in to some heavy pressure on this occasion, AA Rahim got the goal for Cha Boom’s side.
There was some bounce back at the end of the month, beating Pahang 2-1. It was key to get a win back on the board having two games without one, especially here in another derby match. AA Rahim was at it again and playmaker/striker Dico scored just after half time.
A mixed month under the adapted tactic, Cha Bum-Kun must now make the decision to keep it or revert back to the 4-4-1-1.
June is a crazy month in Malaysia, there’s a break in the middle and the second transfer opens as well so its all going on that’s for sure. With that, it’s the penultimate month of the league season so the pressure goes up a little in terms of getting a strong finish. Let’s start off with the competitive results and then we’ll have a look at the friendlies that took place in the mid-month break!
For context, the formation was reverted back to the 4-4-1-1 as the quality isn’t there within the squad to play and maintain the 4-3-3 currently.
The first match in June was against bottom side Penang and the goals starting rolling again with a 3-1 victory. A confident performance saw a Dico brace and captain AA Rahim grab the goals.
Kuala Lumpur at home followed and a second half barrage brought an oustanding 5-0 win! A slow first half followed by some encouraging Cha Boom words saw Dico grab another brace, a rare goal for midfielder Joshua Nisbet, Jimmy Sudarma scored another header from a set piece and last season’s top scorer Zainal Azman got a long awaited goal too.
After the break, it was mid-table side Mekala but the boys kept the form going as well as the goals, winning 3-1. Jimmy Sudarma with another header? that’s right as he carries on his goal charge from centre back, SAS Husni popped up with a fine goal and Zainal Azman made it two goals in two games!
After a great month, the awards came in as Cha Bum-Kun won the MSL Manager of the Month and Dico collected the Player of the Month.
The friendly results are below from the mid-month break, results aren’t really a priority in these games it’s all about keeping the match fitness up for the squad.
Malaysian Cup Draw
So the Malaysian Cup, a second domestic competition that is qualified for depending on your league position at the half way point of the season (after 11 games). It is made up of MSL and MPL teams and there is 16 teams in total. This is how it works;
- 1st to 11th of the Malaysian Super League qualify – 12th place (bottom) do not qualify.
- 1st to 5th of the Malaysian Premier League qualify – 6th place does not qualify despite being in the top half.
- Old Euros format – 4 groups of 4 teams, top 2 from each goes through to knockout stage.
- Quarters and Semi finals are two legs – the final is one leg.
Weird qualification rules but regardless Negeri Sembilan are in it so let’s take a look at the group draw.
It’s not an easy group but it could have been worse, Sabah are the toughest team for sure. Fellow MSL team PJ City join the group along with MPL side Kelantan United who are battling for promotion in the league below. The competition starts after the league finishes so this will be displayed in Part 3 of this season.
The Transfer Window
This transfer window had two target areas, attacking midfield to boost creativity as Dico has impressed in the striker role and right back was a weak point ability wise and needed strengthening.
Let’s go through the outgoings first, M. Deraman who was bought for £5k last season leaves after an unimpressive spell up front with 1 goal in 12 games, he drops down to the MPL. As does Tommy Jarrad who was deemed not good enough at right back, both players were out of contract this season too. Ramli Abdul Latif struggled to get into the first team this season and asked to leave which also saw him drop to the MPL, young striker Haziq Roslan hasn’t adapted to MSL football so has been granted a loan move. The two latter deals were for U23s.
In terms of incomings, two creative midfielders came in, the first being Australian Sean McIllhatton & young Malaysian Mohd Izzudin Harun who was released by Johor DT last season. A new starting right back was found in Mohd Shafiq Ghazali who signed for £11k from Kelantan United, Ghazali can also cover at centre back also giving some good versatility.
Five games to go and only 3 points behind Johor DT, there was still chance of an unlikely title but Sabah are hot on the heels in third so big performances needed. It was also landmark occasion for the great manager that is Cha Bum-Kun!
It wasn’t the best start against Felda United with a 2-2 draw. After a Zainal Azman brace with the second goal putting the team in the league, nerves settled in and Felda United stole a late equaliser which was a bit of a blow. A heavy challenge in the match saw Dico’s league season end too with broken ribs.
This was followed by an AA Rahim training injury as the team had to complete the season without their fan favourite captain.
The battle wasn’t over though and Cha Bum-Kun’s men rallied against Terengganu to grab a narrow 1-0 win. This was all about the result no matter how it came and back up left winger Iqbal Zurkurnain filled the void of AA Rahim hitting a well struck goal from just inside the box – it’s not over yet!
I say that but then disaster struck against PJ City who seem to be problematic at times for Cha Boom. A poor first half sees the team 2-0 down and despite Joshua Nisbet getting a goal back the damage was done, serving a 2-1 loss. It looked to be over now…
A six point gap with two games to go, the goal difference is nowhere in the favour of Negeri Sembilan. Still, a continental place was up for grabs so time to play on!
A tough match against close rivals Selangor but the boys fought and got their reward with a massive 1-0 victory. An overdue goal from deep lying playmaker Idris Ariffin was enough but the team defended brilliantly.
The final match of the season was against Perak and it was a must win. Whilst it was a close one, Cha Boom’s team pulled through with a 2-1 victory which ultimately confirmed second place and continental football! Iqbal Zurkurnain got the first goal and Zainal Azman grabbed the winner to cap off an impressive season for the team.
Final League Table
A second placed finish as Sabah cave in on the last day with a loss. Considering it was promotion last season and then to get top 2 in the first season back in the MSL, it shows great progression and promise. Second also brought a place in the AFC Confederations Cup which is a secondary competition to the AFC Champions League.
Maybe an unwanted record but at the same time it shows how good Johor DT are as Negeri Sembilan record the highest points tally without winning the league!
League & Team Awards
After a season of defying the odds, there was plenty of awards to be handed out but lets start with the man of the moment as Cha Bum-Kun picks up the MSL Manager of the Year.
On to the players and a massive award for free scoring centre back Jimmy Sudarma as he wins South East Asian Player of the Year.
It was the ever reliant AA Rahim who done himself justice winning Goal of the Year after his mazy run and 20 yard finish against Sabah back at the start of the season.
Young goalkeeper Farhan Jalaludin had an impressive first season especially at 17/18 years old and the lad brought home the MSL Goalkeeper of the Year!
Jimmy Sudarma won two more individual accolades in the MSL for Best Foreign Player & Most Popular Player. Guessing these are fan awards as they are a little random!
Lastly, the MSL Team of the Year was announced with M. Ishak, Jimmy Sudarma & SAS Husni being named in the Best XI. Zainal Azman, AA Rahim & Farhun Jalaludin being named on the bench.
Trophy laden individually for some of the boys but they deserve every part of it!
Well now the madness of the league is done, the final part of season 7 will be the Malaysian Cup adventure. To be fair, a bit risky from me as if the team crash out in the group there won’t be much to talk about!
Make sure you check out the other content creators on the links below;
OffTheBarFM – Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/offthebarfm – Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWTLmf7GIQMgraZxoanKQXg
SadPanda333 – Blog site: https://www.sadpanda333.co.uk/
FMAdvancedPlaymaker – Blog site: https://fmadvancedplaymaker.co.uk/
Well a crazy but impressive season, I’ll be back soon with part 3 to see what magic we can do. Until then, take care all!