KUALA LUMPUR: The FA Cup offers Kuala Lumpur the best opportunity to win silverware this season but they will have to overcome an abysmal record against Selangor in the first leg of the quarter-finals in Cheras on Saturday.
KL have gone 13 games without beating derby rivals Selangor since 2007, including a defeat in the first Super League match this season.
But KL coach Fabio Maciel is keen on advancing deeper into the FA Cup in an attempt to add to the Premier League trophy they lifted last season, and they will have to find a way past Nazliazmi Nasir’s side.
The city side face Selangor in the 75th staging of the Klang Valley derby on the back of a three-match unbeaten run in all competitions and are also looking to avenge their only loss at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium this season.
"This is different from playing in the league because we are playing over two matches. Saturday's match is only the first half," said Brazilian Maciel.
"That is why we have to prepare well, keep our concentration and maintain the good form of the team."
Maintaining focus will be crucial after two defensive lapses allowed Selangor to poach a 2-0 win when the two teams met in the season-opening Super League match in Cheras.
However, three players who did not start in that game, will get a chance this time with Zaquan Adha Radzak, Irfan Zakaria and Syazwan Andik Ishak all back from the national team high on confidence.
Irfan, usually fielded as a defensive midfielder by Maciel, could reprise the centre-back role he carried out for Malaysia in the absence of Uzbek defender Boburjon Akbarov through suspension.
"We can keep the system or change the system, either way it is good for me," said Maciel, who has used three centre-backs in KL's last two matches.
"I play around with two or three systems and the players are able to adapt. The important thing is to have the right characteristics to play in that particular system.
"Sometimes you want to play with one system but you don't have the players to do that. So we have to see how the game goes and maybe make a change during the game."
Brazilian midfielder Junior Aparecido, who missed KL's FA Cup wins over Kuching and Melaka in the previous two rounds due to the four-import ruling, could get a run out in Akbarov's absence.
Aparecido is under pressure retain his place in the squad after a string of below-par performance led to fans venting their frustration on social media.