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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Penang sign Philippines ace Mark Hartmann for MSL relegation fight

Global striker Mark Hartmann
Philippines striker Mark Hartmann has signed with Penang for the rest of the 2017 season.

Penang hope the signing of Philippines international forward Mark Hartmann will boost their chances of avoiding relegation from the Malaysia Super League (MSL).

The 25-year-old moves to the island state from Sarawak where his contract was terminated, despite scoring seven goals in 15 matches in the 2017 season.

Bottom-placed Penang have scored only 10 goals in the first 13 MSL matches of the season so coach Zainal Abidin Hassan wasted no time in bringing the English-born forward to the island state.

"Hartmann will be paired with Sanna Nyassi, who is our other new import striker," Zainal told Harian Metro.

"I hope that combination of these two strikers can change the team for the better."

Hartmann, who stood out during his time with Philippines' club Global FC, scored one of the goals of the season in a 6-3 triumph over second-tier side MISC-MIFA in the second round of the Malaysia FA Cup.

If Penang are able to stave off relegation, it may be at the expense of his former team, Sarawak, who are only outside the drop zone on goal difference.

"Penang's fight to stay in the MSL is far from over, and I will do best to contribute in terms of goals up front. If we work hard as a team, we can do it," Hartmann said.

Hartmann, who was a youth player with Swindon Town in England, spent part of last season in Singapore's S.League, with Geylang International. 

The Panthers continued their shopping spree by snapping up American-born Guam international defender Brandon McDonald to replace Reinaldo Lobo, who is sidelined through a long-term injury.

Penang sit five points from safety with nine games to play.

Meanwhile, Selangor also changed their foreign personnel with the arrival of Spanish attacker Rufino Segovia, who replaces Brazilian playmaker Juliano Mineiro.

The Red Giants, who retained their Liberian striker Francis Forkey Doe, have also reintroduced Indonesian winger Andik Vermansyah and national forward Amri Yahyah to form a formidable attacking line up for the remainder of the season.

Segovia had a brief playing stint with La Liga giants Atletico Madrid in 2006-2007 before moving to Spain's lower leagues.

The 32-year-old signs from Hong Kong club Kitchee, and will shoulder the responsibility of pulling the creative strings in midfield.

Elsewhere, MSL strugglers Melaka United also replaced their Argentine forward Sergio Aguero -- no relation to the Manchester City forward -- with Felipe de Souza.

The little-known Brazilian midfielder comes with big expectations to inspire the struggling Mousedeers, who are in the bottom two.

Melaka also confirmed the services of their "rested" coach Eric Williams are no longer needed, and the management is on the hunt for a new person to take charge.

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