Craig Morraies rounds up all the action as we look back on Round 16 of the 2014 Malaysian Super League…
JDT and Pahang share the spoils
This match promised to be entertaining and it certainly didn’t disappoint, with JDT's Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Pahang's R. Gopinathan seemingly having an individual battle. JDT took the lead through their star striker, Luciano Figueroa, whom was set up by fellow Argentine Diaz after he beat two Pahang defenders on the left. Nine minutes later, Pahang got themselves back into the game after Gopinathan breezed past Mahali Jasuli and crossed the ball to Azamuddin Akil to side foot it into the bottom corner.
Stern words were clearly said at half-time, as JDT retook the lead in the 48th minute through Safiq Rahim. In a carbon copy of their first goal, Diaz beat two defenders and cut the ball back for the oncoming Safiq to fire it home. Just when a home victory looked sealed, danger man Gopinathan wriggled his way between a couple of defenders to fire a cross-cum-shot in the final minutes of the game. It went harmlessly into the palms of JDT keeper Izham Tarmizi, but he somehow spilled the ball over his goal line. The game finished 2-2, which handed the initiative to Selangor who played Sime Darby the following night (read below).
Final Score: JDT 2 Pahang 2
Sarawak extend the Red Ants’ winless run
Sarawak started the match on a positive note, but they were unable to break down the defensive resilience of PKNS. Clearly identifying explosive winger S. Chantaru as the main attacking threat, the Red Ants did their best to keep him quiet. The extra space in midfield, though. allowed Joseph Kallang Tie to come inside and break the deadlock in the 15th minute.
PKNS managed to find themselves back into a match, when Ronny Harun's goal-line clearance accidentally hit his own team-mate, Mafry Balang, who inadvertently sent the ball looping back towards his own goal five minutes before half time. However, instead of building on their attack in the second half, PKNS sat back and invited pressure onto themselves, which cost them as Muamer Salibasic popped up to score an absolute belter worthy of winning any football match and send the home fans into a frenzy.
Final Score: Sarawak 2 PKNS 1
Selangor's defensive unit shines again
After Friday’s draw between JDT and Pahang, Selangor took the opportunity to open up the gap at the top with both hands. Yet again, it was Brazilian Paulo Rangel who settled the match against Sime Darby with a goal - his first goal in four games - from the penalty spot after Andik Vermansyah was brought down, but it was the Selangor defence that ensured all three points. Sime Darby coach Ismail Zakaria set his team up with counter-attacking tactics, but the Red Giants' back five dealt with them comfortably. In the end, Selangor secured their sixth 1-0 win of the sason and a five-point lead in the Super League table.
Final Score: Selangor 1 Sime Darby 0
Woeful goalkeeping errors cost T-Team
In what was a six-pointer near the foot of the league table, it was ATM who did just enough to secure all three points against T-Team. With regulars Hairuddin Omar and Syed Adney not playing and Bruno Marteletto starting from the bench, Fabrice Noel stole the show. Despite initially going a goal down to a deflected effort from T-Team’s Patrich Wanggai, ATM got back into the game after T-Team goalkeeper Wan Azraie Wan Teh failed to react quickly enough to Noel's equaliser. Wan Azraie's night then turned worse as he let Noel's 30-yard effort go past him, making it 2-1.
Final Score: ATM 2 T-Team 1
Kelantan halt Perak's resurgence
With their supporters behind them, Kelantan immediately settled down and controlled the game from the start. Their early possession paid off soon enough as Egyptian midfielder Shawky Yazid connected with a Brendan Gan cross to score in the 5th minute. Perak were unable to keep up with the Red Warriors and were soon left exposed again in the 77th minute when Khairul Izuan doubled the lead. With little time remaining, Perak kept up the pressure and managed to get a consolation goal in the 83rd minute, but it was a little too late as Kelantan held on to give George Boateng his second league win in as many games.
Final Score: Kelantan 2 Perak 1
Terengganu ruin Baihakki Khaizan’s return
After a poor run of results in recent weeks, Terengganu were looking to get back to winning ways against the LionsXII. It was the visitors who took the lead when Khairul Amri, who has been one of the key players for Fandi Ahmad’s team, scored with a header in the 8th minute. However, it did not take the home side long to draw level as Javier Romero glanced a free header past Izwan Mahbud minutes later to bring the game to life. In the second half, Romero haunted Izwan again, as the LionsXII goalkeeper brought down the Colombian in the penalty box in the 69th minute, allowing Terengganu talisman Zairo Anuar to convert the winner from the spot.
Final Score: Terengganu 2 LionsXII 1
(Photo Credit: Dz Dzulfahmie @ www.asiana.my)