JDT poised for historic MSL three-peat ahead of Terengganu visit

The Malaysia Super League (MSL) season is almost done and dusted, with the final three rounds of fixtures, beginning this weekend.

The return to domestic football comes as a respite for fans who are still trying to forget Malaysia's 3-0 humiliation at the hands of Indonesia on Tuesday.

Here are five thoughts heading into Matchday 20:

1. Party planned at JDT

One season's effort boils down to 90 minutes of history in the making against Terengganu at Larkin Stadium on Friday.

Win, and Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) will be champions for the third consecutive time, making them the first team to do so, after winning in 2014 and 2015.

The Southern Tigers, still unbeaten, are expected to stroll to the inevitable against the struggling Turtles, who are winless in the league since May.

The pyrotechnics will be out in full force once they achieve this, which neighbours Singapore will be able to see clearly across the Causeway. Johor Bahru is only 22 kilometres from the Lion City.

2. Diaz, Lucero bent on setting record

While topping Marlon Alex James' 23-goal haul from the 2007-2008 season seems far-fetched, either of the JDT duo of Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Juan Martin Lucero could win the MSL Golden Boot. The Argentines have netted 28 of Johor's 49 goals this season, with Diaz locked on 15 with Felda United's Francis Forkey Doe, at the top of the MSL food chain.

Should he or Lucero (13) beat the Liberian's tally come season's end, they will be the first in Southern Tigers' colours to finish top of the charts.

3. Five team relegation dogfight

The relegation battle heats up this weekend, as Pahang, Penang, Terengganu, Sarawak, and even PDRM FA, try to avoid the drop.

Defeat to Selangor on Saturday would all but doom Pahang to the second-tier Premier League. It is a sad predicament for the Elephants, who lost their head coach, and virtually an entire first team after finishing third last season.

Up north, ex-JDT boss Bojan Hodak will also be preparing an escape route, with a home win over PDRM that would suck the Cops into the relegation melee as well.

4. Goal-line referees to come into play

The goal-line referee system, introduced in the 2015 season, has only been used in spades since implemented.

That absence was evident when JDT beat Felda 3-2 away in a top-of-the-table clash on Aug. 24. The visitors had two legitimate goals chalked off in the first half, with the assistant referee on the far side failing to notice how far the ball had crossed the goal line.

With plenty at stake in the final few games, margins for error must be at a minimum. Bring in those additional officials.

5. National selection an open audition

Not a single member of the 23-man national squad covered himself in glory in Tuesday's 3-0 thrashing at the hands of a rusty Indonesia side, ahead of November's AFF Suzuki Cup. That spells good news for the other local players, eager for a call-up to the regional competition.

Perak duo Hazrul Fazli and Kenny Palraj are among those who can push for a debut call up, while Felda's Hadin Azman is another player capable of giving a good account of himself. For that matter, the door remains wide open to any player who can prove himself between now and the end of October, which is when the domestic season ends.

At the moment, it is a bleak picture for fans hoping that the 2016 side can match the exploits of the 2014 outfit, who came within just a few minutes of upsetting Thailand in the AFF final.