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 By Jason Dasey

Negeri Sembilan drop Nabbout and Chianese ahead of Malaysia Cup

Negeri Sembilan player Andrew Nabbout and Johor Darul Ta'zim Azinee Taib (blue)
Andrew Nabbout, centre, scored for Negeri Sembilan against JDT in the Malaysia FA Cup in March.

Former A-League forwards Joel Chianese and Andrew Nabbout have been cut by Malaysia's Negeri Sembilan in a mid-season shakeup that sees ex-Brisbane Roar attacker Henrique join the Premier League club.

Naturalised Australian Henrique, who grew up in Brazil, and French-born Serbian striker Goran Jenkovic will take over two of Negeri's four import spots for the second half of the 2016 season.

It means that ex-Sydney FC starlet Chianese and Nabbout, who once lined up alongside Archie Thompson at Melbourne Victory, have been thrown into limbo, despite impressive campaigns.

Chianese scored 10 goals in 15 games as Nabbout netted eight times in 12 matches, with Negeri second in the MPL, two points behind top of the table Melaka United. Nabbout also grabbed a memorable goal at Larkin Stadium against Johor Darul Ta'zim in the Malaysia FA Cup in March.

"Joel and Andrew have played well this season, but we, as a club, have made the decision to try to improve the squad to give Negeri every possible chance of promotion," coach Gary Phillips told ESPN FC.

Brisbane Roar striker Henrique
Henrique moves to Negeri Sembilan from A-League giants Brisbane Roar.

Chianese and Nabbout arrived last October, joining ex-Newcastle Jets defender Taylor Regan and former Wellington Phoenix midfielder Alex Smith at the Seremban-based club, to complete a quartet of Australian players.

Henrique links up with Negeri Sembilan after an impressive spell in the A-League, winning three titles with Brisbane Roar. The 31-year-old scored 39 goals in 138 A-League matches and often proved to be a match-winner off the bench. 

Nicknamed "The Slippery Fish", Henrique was signed as a teenager at Dutch giants Feyenoord, but failed to break into the first team.

Another former Brisbane Roar midfielder, Mario Karlovic, has had his deal with second tier Kuala Lumpur FA cut short.

Karlovic had previously played with Terengganu and ATM FA in Malaysia as well as Indonesia Super League clubs Minangkabau FC and Persebaya Surabaya.

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