Selangor and PDRM dropped points in the Malaysian Super League after suffering shock defeats to Perak and ATM respectively to blow the title race wide open.
It was a night of unsuspecting results as teams at the top of the Super League slipped up, but no result was more shocking than ATM’s victory over league leaders PDRM, as the Gladiators gained three valuable points with a 3-1 victory.
The Cops started the game brightly with an early opener by midfielder Afif Amiruddin in the 13th minute before Venice Elphi equalised for the Gladiators just before the end of the first half, ensuring both teams entered the changing rooms level.
Fired up by Venice’s equaliser, ATM came out with guns blazing in the second half and Hairuddin Omar scored his first goal of the night in the 56th minute before finding the net again five minutes later, which proved enough for the Gladiators as they held on till the final whistle.
In Shah Alam Stadium, Perak inflicted misery over Selangor as they beat the Red Giants 2-1 to shut out the chance for Mehmet Durakovic’s men to overtake PDRM.
Guilherme De Paula had the partisan crowd on their feet as he headed in a corner kick by Leandro Dos Santos in the 19th minute, but a moment of clumsiness by Leandro 30 seconds before half-time, who clearly pushed Nam Kung Woong, gave Perak a spot kick that was coolly converted by the South Korean himself.
In the 62nd minute, the Bos Gaurus was awarded a free kick and Nurridzuan Abu Hassan, who scored a peach of a goal last week from a similar situation, produced another stunner as his shot curled around Selangor’s defensive wall and flew past Hamsani Ahmad’s flailing arms.
Despite Nurridzuan being sent off for a second yellow five minutes from time, it proved enough for Perak to take the three points.
Pahang, on the back of an emphatic 7-4 win in the AFC Cup a few days ago, came from behind to beat Terengganu 3-2, stretching the Turtles’ losing streak to three games in a row.
Paulo Rangel gave Ismail Abdul Rahman and the travelling fans something to smile about when he converted a penalty kick in the 23rd minute, following a foul by Matthew Davies on Issey Nakajima-Farran.
However, the lead and smile lasted for only three minutes when defender Zeshan Rahman rose high to bury a Hafiz Kamal free kick.
Rehman then was again on hand to head in the Elephants’ second a minute before half-time.
Terengganu came out in the second half eager to restore parity and were close to doing so with efforts by Rangel, Nakajima-Farran, Gustavo Lopez and Zairo Anuar Zailani, but instead found themselves further behind when Dickson Nwakaeme capitalised on a mistake by Vincent Bikana and fed Matias Conti to finish with a simple tap in the 56th minute.
In the 79th minute, Terengganu won another penalty, which was successfully converted by Rangel, but a possible comeback was not to be as Pahang held on.
In another high scoring affair, Kelantan lost to Sarawak 3-2 to give more headaches to Azraai Khor.
Ryan Griffiths gave Sarawak the lead as early as the 10th minute with a stinging shot that beat stand-in goalie Shahrizan Ismail before Erwin Carrillo equalised for the Red Warriors following a brilliant one-two play with Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria.
Sarawak struck back through Billy Mehmet and Joseph Kallang Tie and, although they conceded another goal via Wan Zaharulnizam, held on for the win.
Meanwhile, Sime Darby continues to languish at the bottom of the table after a 2-1 defeat to LionsXII, simultaneously marking the Lions’ first away victory in the Super League.
It started well for the Giant Killers when Fahrul Razi Kamaruddin found the back of the net with a spectacular volley to beat Izwan Mahbud in the 24th minute.
But Firdaus Kasman responded with a half volley of his own from just outside the penalty box, finding the top corner of Kamarul Effendi Abdul Rahim’s goal in the 57th minute before Gabriel Quak pounced on a botched clearance to give the Singaporean side the win.