MSL Wrap – Selangor and Terengganu in disarray
Felda United 3 Selangor 1
The Red Giants are in trouble, and it is not just on the pitch following an internal conflict between Mauro Olivi and Hafiz Kamal following their defeat to the Fighters, who now top the table. Selangor have suspended Olivi until further notice and will initiate an internal disciplinary inquiry.
Hadin Azman put Irfan Bakti Abu Salim’s side ahead after just nine minutes at the Tun Abdul Razak Stadium in Jengka, but efforts to increase their lead were futile as Patrick Wleh scored his seventh league goal of the season to level matters in the 71st minute.
Felda stepped up a gear in search of yet another win against their fellow title contenders, and were rewarded through Liberians Zah Rahan Krangar and Francis Forkey Doe before the final whistle.
Irfan’s side are emerging as genuine contenders for the title with wins over Selangor, Terengganu and Kedah already. JDT are the only team to deny Felda a win so far after prevailing 2-1 at the Larkin Stadium.
Kedah 2 Penang 2
The Red Eagles only have themselves to blame for failing to make the most of Selangor’s loss after twice taking the lead, only to settle for a draw in front of their fans on Saturday.
Instead of climbing up to third, Tan Cheng Hoe’s side fell to fourth due to results elsewhere.
Kedah left Sandro da Silva Mendonca and Bang Seung-hwan on the bench but still dominated the game from early on with Liridon Krasniqi rolling the ball into the back of the net in the 25th minute, but the visitors struck back through newly-appointed captain Matias Cordoba just five minutes later.
The Kosovan doubled his tally in the 61st minute but Darwira Sazan spoiled the party four minutes from time. Kedah tried to up the ante in the dying minutes but it was a tad too late.
Kelantan 2 Johor Darul Ta’zim 2
The Southern Tigers lost top spot in the standings after letting a two-goal lead slip at the Sultan Mohamad IV Stadium in Kota Bahru on Tuesday.
Juan Martin Lucero, who at times is still seen finding his feet at the club, found the back of the net twice, including a lob over Malaysian No.1 Khairul Fahmi Che Mat in the second half.
The hosts, who have been largely inconsistent this season, hit back almost immediately after the Argentine’s 53rd-minute goal.
Seasoned attacking midfielder Indra Putra Mahayuddin’s header past Farizal Marlias inspired a comeback. Left-winger Wan Zaharulnizam Zakaria sneaked a header at the far corner for an equaliser in the 68th minute.
Kelantan dropped to sixth after PDRM defeated Terengganu 3-1 on Sunday.
Perak 3 Pahang 4
Syamsul Saad left out Malaysian under-22 prospect Ahmad Khairil Anuar Ahmad Zamri and Eric Weeks Lewis from the engine room, welcoming back skipper Nasir Basharuddin instead.
Perak took the lead through Vokhid Shodiev just nine minutes into the match but Dalibor Volas struck five minutes later and again just before the break to turn the tie around.
Perak equalised twice in the second half, through Elias Oliveira and and Khairul but Volas ensured he took home the match ball in stoppage time to give Pahang a timely win. German Pacheco scored Pahang’s other goal.
The Elephants are still at the foot of the MSL table but with Perak, Sarawak and Penang within biting distance, Matthew Davies and company may fancy themselves moving up the ladder.
PDRM 3 Terengganu 1
The Turtles have got to find their footing or risk the 2016 season being yet another disappointing year despite having a squad which many feel are capable of challenging the likes of Selangor and Felda United.
Back-to-back defeats since the international break have added pressure to the underperforming squad, who dropped to eighth in the standings, while PDRM moved up to third.
Statistics recorded by Terengganu indicate the visitors had 63 percent of possession but it was the hosts who were more lethal with goals from Singapore international Safuwan Baharudin, Ali Ashfaq and Amir Saiful Baderli.
Joseph Kallang Tie scored for the visitors in the first half but he will want to forget the night after being sent off for an altercation with Konate Souleymane in the 77th minute. The Malian was also sent off.
Sarawak 0 T-Team 2
Despite having ended their winless start last Tuesday, the Crocs returned to losing ways after a 2-0 home loss in front of an empty State Stadium in Kuching.
The fans were blocked out due to a two-match stadium ban because of crowd misbehaviour in February, and without the ferocious home backing, Rahmad Darmawan’s men smelled blood. Like Sarawak, T-Team were also high in confidence after recording their first win of the season days before the match, a hard-fought 4-2 win over Kelantan.
Malian Makan Konate and Uzbek Dilshod Sharofetdinov scored their third goal of the season respectively to propel the Titans into seventh place after collecting nine points from seven matches.