MPL Wrap: Rangel finds form, KL still unbeaten

Kuala Lumpur look relentless in their quest to earn promotion while Johor Darul Ta'zim II's striker Paulo Rangel is firing on all cylinders.

Johor Darul Ta’zim II 5 ATM FA 1

Paulo Rangel finally hit form with four goals in the last two matches but Johor Darul Ta’zim II (JDT II) are still seven points behind leaders Kuala Lumpur in the Malaysia Premier League.

The Brazilian was initially signed to lead Johor Darul Ta’zim’s attack in the Super League but ended up in their second tier-club following poor performances in the pre-season.

Rangel struck his first goal in the Premier League in the 2-1 defeat to newly-promoted side Malacca on Feb 26 before scoring a hat-trick in JDT II’s 5-1 thrashing of ATM, both at Pasir Gudang Stadium, three days later. It was their first win after three straight defeats.

JDT II coach Benjamin Mora praised Rangel’s performance but added his team must work harder to make an impact in the competition.

“I hope the win will spur the players for better days ahead. The players are finally playing good football after working so hard in training. I hope they will continue to put effort in training and also strive for better results,” said Mora.

Kuala Lumpur 3 Sabah 2

Kuala Lumpur (KL) lead the standing after a nail-biting 3-2 victory over winless Sabah at Selayang Stadium on Monday.

Ismail Zakaria’s side are now the only unbeaten team in the Premier League with three wins and one draw.

Midfielder Zhafri Yahya, Anselmo Arruda da Silva and Helmi Remeli were on target for KL while Sabah replied through Marco Tulio and Leopold Alfonso Otong.

Ismail, however, felt his team could have done better.

“I am unhappy. We led 2-0 but allowed Sabah back into the match. The players became overconfident and did not play as a unit.

“The team only played well in the opening 20 minutes. There is still room for improvement. Some (players) are young and raw, and sometimes, they make wrong decisions in games,” said Ismail.

PKNS 3 Sime Darby 1

PKNS bounced back from back-to-back defeats to record 2-0 and 3-1 wins over ATM and Sime Darby in the last two rounds.  

The club have improved but they could face some issues if their foreign signings get injured along the way. As it stands, none of their goals were scored by the local players.

As it stands

KL lead the standing with 10 points, one more than second-place DRB Hicom with Malacca in third with eight points while Sabah and ATM are the only teams without a point.

Croatian Ivan Babic of DRB Hicom and Uzbekistan striker Pavel Purishkin lead the goal scorers chart with five goals, followed by Rangel with four goals.

Match Day 3 results:

Sime Darby 1 Perlis 1, PKNS 2 ATM 0, JDT II 1 Malacca 2, Negri Sembilan 1 Kuala Lumpur 1, Sabah 0 DRB Hicom 2, UITM 0 Kuantan 0.

Match Day 4

Perlis 1 Kuantan 0, DRB Hicom 4 UITM 1, Kuala Lumpur 3 Sabah 2, JDT II 5 ATM 1, PKNS 3 Sime Darby 1, Malacca 0 Negri Sembilan 0.

Photo: Johor Darul Ta'zim II