KUALA LUMPUR: Top seeds Penang are indeed looking formidable after easing into the quarter-finals of the AirAsia-BAM National Junior League (ABNJL) Finals at Stadium Juara.
The Islanders, consisting mainly of state players, topped Group A, following a convincing 5-0 win over Sabah in their final group tie. Penang had beaten Perak 4-1 yesterday.
Confident of their chances, Penang have set their sights on winning the inaugural title on Sunday.
Team manager Ang Lay Heang tipped second seeds Selangor to be their biggest challenge, but remained optimistic of doing well in both the boys and girls inter-state championship.
"I don't wish to put the other teams down, but I must say that our boys are playing at a slightly higher level. As for some of the players like the ones from Perak and Sabah today, we know them. We've played them before in other junior tournaments, so we came prepared.
"Looking at the field, I can say that Selangor will be our biggest challenge but I am still confident that Penang can go on to win the title," said Lay Heang.
Penang will play Group B runners-up Kelantan tomorrow while second placed Perak - who defeated Sabah 4-1 on the opening day - take on fellow tournament favourites Selangor in the other quarter-finals.
Selangor, without their ace shuttler Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin, still managed a 5-0 win over Sarawak to top Group B, living up to their billing as second seeds.
In Group C, Kuala Lumpur finished top after seeing off Kedah 4-1, and were accompanied by group runners-up Perlis to the last eight stage. Perlis had earlier beaten Pahang - who lost all their ties - 3-2.
Kuala Lumpur play Group D runners-up Negeri Sembilan next, while Perlis take on Johor. Earlier in the fight for top position in Group D, Johor beat Negri Sembilan 3-2.