Pahang live to fight another day in relegation escape

Pahang’s 1-0 win over Penang, their second successive league win, ensures a nail-biting finale to the 2016 Malaysia Super League (MSL) season.

On a day Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) lifted their third successive MSL trophy, their 2015 title rivals Pahang defeated Penang to climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since July.

Captain Matthew Davies’s goal provided the Elephants a 1-0 win over Penang, a result that saw Razip Ismail’s charges push the Panthers into the bottom two relegation spots with just one match left to spare in the season.

“I told the players we have to take it to the last game … we could still escape. Two matches and two wins later, we have given ourselves a lifeline,” said Razip after Saturday’s win.

“It has been a tough season and it will all come down to results on the final day. We are not there yet so we need another great 90 minutes.

“The recent wins will provide a morale boost. There is ample time for the season finale but just about every team will be refreshed.”

Pahang, who currently sit in 10th place with 20 points, face T-Team away in the final match and only a win will guarantee top flight status again. Penang and Terengganu have 19 points and face each other on the final day.

A draw could suffice if the Penang-Terengganu tie also ends in a stalemate, but should there be a winner in Georgetown, Pahang must collect three points to stay up.

Sarawak and PDRM, who will face each other in Kuching next month, are still stuck in the relegation battle with 21 points each.

PDRM had suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Kelantan on Friday while Sarawak settled for a point in a six-goal thriller against MSL runners-up Felda United. The Crocs looked on course to confirm the 2017 status after taking a 3-1 lead into the break but the Fighters drew level minutes before the final whistle.

At the top of the standings, 2016 winners JDT trounced T-Team 5-1 before the trophy presentation ceremony at Larkin Stadium. Juan Martin Lucero was the toast of the night with four goals after Amirul Hadi Zainal opened the scoring after just six minutes.

Kedah defeated Terengganu 3-0 for their sixth straight win and confirmed third spot while Kelantan, Selangor, Perak and T-Team are locked in the battle for fourth.

Pre-season title contenders Selangor are in danger of finishing as low as seventh after suffering their fifth defeat in seven matches as Perak took home a 1-0 win from Shah Alam. Selangor have not won a league match since defeating PDRM 2-1 on July 16.

Selangor welcome the champions to Shah Alam on October 22. The Southern Tigers are looking to end the season unbeaten.