MSL Recap: Goal glut in Kuantan as Pahang maintain pressure on JDT
A hat-trick by Norfarhan Muhammad was not enough to help Kelantan overcome Pahang, who emerged 5-3 victorious at the Darul Makmur Stadium.
It was 2-0 after just eight minutes, with R. Surendran and Dickson Nwakaeme netting for the Elephants.
Norfarhan halved the deficit in the 12th minute with a deflected effort off Razman Roslan, but Pahang further increased their advantage through Matias Conti and Zesh Rehman.
The Red Warriors almost looked like pulling off an unlikely late comeback when their No. 10 completed his hat-trick in the 70th and 90th minute, but Azammuddin Akil put the game to bed with an easy effort four minutes into injury time.
Pahang remained one point behind league leaders JDT, who defeated the LionsXII 1-0 with Safee Sali setting up Luciano Figueroa for the finish in the 55th minute.
At the other end of the league table, Sime Darby's relegation fate was all but sealed following a 1-1 draw in Kuching, with Marko Perovic cancelling out Sarawak striker Billy Mehmet's opener.
With three games remaining, Ismail Zakaria’s men are nine points behind the Crocs and have an inferior goal difference.
Meanwhile, 11th-placed ATM could not take advantage of the draw and close the gap on relegation rivals Sarawak, whom they will play next, as they lost 3-2 to Selangor.
Guilherme De Paula gave the Red Giants the lead from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute before Abdulafees Abdul Salam struck an equaliser in first-half stoppage time.
After the break, Selangor raced to a two-goal advantage within 10 minutes thanks to Ahmad Hazwan and Shahrom Kalam.
The Gladiators could have easily pegged back, but Selangor goalkeeper Norazlan Razali was at his best as he singlehandedly kept out most of the shots at his goal.
Only Shukor Jusoh managed to breach his goal in injury time, but it was too late for the Armed Forces to mount a comeback.
The win allowed Selangor to reclaim third spot from PDRM, who defeated Felda United 1-0 with Dramane Traore’s 18th league goal of the season.
Sharing the same amount of points with Selangor in the league table are Terengganu, who won 2-1 at home against Perak.
Ismail Faruqi and Issey Nakajima-Farran scored in quick succession in the 22nd and 26th minute before Bobby Gonzales pulled one back for the away side with his first league goal of the season.