Fresh from inspiring his side to a potentially season-defining FA Cup semifinal berth, Pahang winger Christie Jayaseelan is now raring to continue the Elephants’ run with victory against his former club Felda United in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) on Wednesday.
Christie made an impressive impact, playing the last 35 minutes against Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) in the FA Cup quarterfinal on Sunday to drive Pahang to the last four.
Even though they lost the second leg 2-1, Pahang prevailed 4-3 on aggregate to book a date against Negeri Sembilan for a place in the final.
The nippy winger, who came on for only the third time this season, wants to keep that momentum going after a stop-start year, due to a right-thigh injury.
“The last few months have been really frustrating, watching my teammates get off to a good start, and not being able to help them,” Christie told ESPN FC.
“I played our first game against JDT in the league [on March 3], and then got injured after we beat Melaka United. Now I am back, I feel fine, and I want to contribute as much as possible.”
The 31-year-old gave Azrif Nasrulhaq anxious moments on the left flank on Sunday, and is looking to replicate that same form against the team he left at the end of 2016.
But Christie knows victory will not be easy against the Settlers who have seen improvements under B. Satiananthan, his former Armed Forces coach.
“Coach Satia is tactically sound, and he has enough quality players who could hurt us up front,” Christie said. “Either way, we must forget our FA Cup semifinal for now, and aim for a win against Felda if we want to go for the league title as well.”
JDT, three points above Pahang at the MSL summit, will look to shake off their FA Cup disappointment and maintain top spot when they travel to play bottom-placed Penang.
The Southern Tigers will be favourites to notch a sixth consecutive win in all competitions, but Penang are developing their appetite to stay in the top tier after the arrival of Zainal Abidin Hassan.
Kedah are also seeking to keep pace with the top two when they travel to face Perak at Ipoh Stadium. After a blistering start to the season, the Canaries have dropped off the pace after learning their coach Tan Cheng Hoe wants to join the national team set up.
Kedah are now winless in three games, including consecutive defeats to T-Team and PKNP FC in the league and FA Cup.
Other matches will see Melaka United hosting PKNS FC, while T-Team welcome Selangor to Kuala Terengganu.
Fixtures (Wednesday, 9 p.m.)
Sarawak vs. Kelantan
Melaka United vs. PKNS FC
Pahang vs. Felda United
Penang vs. JDT
Perak vs. Kedah
T-Team vs. Selangor
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter:…