M-League — 84 matches in 44 days

The resumption, which starts tomorrow, will see the leading JDT facing 3-place Pahang at Darul Makmur Stadium

AFTER an enforced hiatus of almost five months following the spread of the Covid-19, the clash of two local football giants, Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and Pahang, tomorrow will further boost the resumption of the 2020 Malaysia League (M-League) tournament.

The match, which will take place at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan, Pahang, is one of the 84 Super League and Premier League fixtures that will be held in the next 44 days before the season ends on Oct 10.

With each team has seven matches to play, JDT is on track to create its own history, winning the Super League title seven times in a row after successfully defending the title for six seasons since 2014.

The Southern Tigers squad is leading the Super League table with 10 points, closely followed by the 2018 Malaysia Cup champions, Perak, with two points separating the two teams, while Pahang at third place with six points.

The Royal Malaysia Police and Melaka occupy the bottom two places in the Super League and will face elimination at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, in the Premier League, the main focus is on the three-cornered competition between Kelantan United, Penang and Kuala Lumpur, all vying for one automatic slot left to the 2021 Super League competition.

Terengganu FC II with “feeder” status leads the Premier League standings with 12 points after maintaining an unbeaten record in the first four games, while Kelantan United is second with nine points, followed by Penang (eight points) and Kuala Lumpur (eight points).

Kuching FA and Perak 2 are the bottom two teams in the Premier League.

Once both competitions concluded, the qualified teams must then prepare the players to face the Malaysia Cup campaign which is scheduled to start on Oct 16.

The Malaysia Cup, which is one of the oldest tournaments in the Asian region, has dropped the group stage matches and will now have a knock-out tournament.

All M-League matches will be played without spectators and the venues are registered with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, apart from undergoing disinfection and sanitation processes as a preventive measure to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

The FA Cup competition, which offers slots to the 2021 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup and Challenge Cup, has been cancelled due to the pandemic.

However, the Malaysian Football League, as the M-League organiser, has set that the Super League winners will be given an automatic slot to the 2021 Asia Champions League, while the Malaysia Cup champions and runners-up in the Super League will get a slot to the AFC 2021 Cup.

The effect of the pandemic that hit the world has also been felt by all the teams competing with most of them taking the approach to cutting the salaries of players and officials. — Bernama