Saturday, 1 February 2014

Aimar blows hot and cold

Aimar blows hot and cold

FOR a player who appears not to like playing in the M-League, Pablo Aimar sure knows how to produce magic when he needs to.
A day before Darul Ta'zim were held 2-2 by LionsXII in the Super League, former Argentina international Aimar was quoted by a Singapore newspaper as saying he is not enjoying his football here since arriving from Benfica.
"I don't enjoy playing so much," Aimar, 34, told The New Paper. "It is difficult to play."
Aimar's dissatisfaction could have been in reference to the heat, the congested schedule or even the poor fare often dished out in M-League games.
But for one half at Larkin on Tuesday, Aimar was at his sublime best -- a through ball for Luciano Figueroa to open the scoring and then a sumptuous free-kick to make it 2-0.
Thereafter, the hosts conceded twice immediately after Aimar's substitution, as the Argentine failed to see out the full 90 minutes in any of Darul Ta'zim's three games.
Tomorrow, star-studded Darul Ta'zim host Kuala Terengganu T-Team in the FA Cup second round, looking to avenge a 1-0 defeat in the league which is their only loss so far.
Before playing LionsXII, Darul Ta'zim's Spanish coach Cesar Ferrando Jiminez said his team will eventually find their rhythm after a rocky start.
"We are at the start of the league and it can be difficult to win matches, but our target at the moment is to win and to fight for the championship," said former Atletico Madrid coach Ferrando, 54.
"We played the last match with nine new players in a new team, and it is normal that they can't play at a good level for too long.
"But I am happy with the team and we have to continue improving."
Ferrando has named a virtually unchanged line up for the last three games, with only Nurul Azwan Roya and Nazrin Nawi rotating on the left flank.
It means that national players Safee Sali, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Fadhli Shas have had to make do with places on the bench along with Singapore's Hariss Harun.
This has led to fans on social media clamouring for a change after Darul Ta'zim won only one match so far with calls for Safee, Norshahrul and Amirulhadi Zainal to start.
Ferrando will be forced into at least one change tomorrow as centre-back Aidil Zafuan Radzak is out for three weeks with a hamstring injury, which means a first start for Fadhli.
In the other match brought forward from Tuesday to give way to Singapore's Asian Cup qualifier against Jordan, LionsXII will look to build on the draw with Darul Ta'zim and a win against Selangor by getting past Malaysia Cup champions Pahang at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
"It's about time we change from boys to men," coach Fandi Ahmad said after the remarkable draw with Darul Ta'zim when they scored twice in three second-half minutes.
"And we saw real men tonight (Tuesday). After going down, we never gave up. We need to uphold that character. I have to salute them because they fought all the way till the end."
While LionsXII return to the comfort of Jalan Besar, where they have not lost in 21 matches and one at Bishan, this match is Pahang's fourth consecutive away game in 12 days.
The run began on Jan 21 with a penalty shootout win against Perak in Ipoh in the FA Cup first round and was followed by consecutive 1-0 Super League defeats by Sime Darby and Selangor in Selayang and Petaling Jaya respectively.
To make matters worse, Pahang have been without Dickson Nwakaeme since Jan 17 when the Nigerian striker pulled his hamstring just 15 minutes into the game.

Read more:  New Straits Times 


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