Talking points: JDT get Becks’ attention as league and Cup battles heat up

Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) celebrated their Malaysia Super League (MSL) trophy in style and got attention in England, including from former English captain David Beckham, while Perak and Felda United stage a comeback to keep their Malaysia Cup hopes alive

BATTLES FOR SECOND AND SURVIVAL

There are just two matches remaining in the MSL and all there really is to fight for is the runners-up position and retaining a place in the league itself.

Melaka gave themselves some breathing space after their 3-1 win over Perak propelled them four points clear of the relegation zone, but it is worrying times for Kelantan and Sarawak.

Kelantan currently have a one-point advantage over 11th placed Sarawak. The Red Warriors, who face PKNS and Melaka in their remaining matches, have slumped to defeats in four of their last five fixtures.

Sarawak have a tough tie against Kedah next but their final match against T-Team is one they can win.

Can Sarawak pick themselves up before it's too late?

Penang are virtually demoted to the Malaysia Premier League (MPL) already despite being able to go level on points with Kelantan. The Panthers have a poor goal difference count of minus-24.

At the other end, Pahang have a two-point lead over Kedah to finish second, with Felda United a point further adrift in fourth.

Pahang play T-Team and Perak next while Kedah have Sarawak and JDT lined-up. Felda, meanwhile end their season against JDT and PKNS.

Finishing-second (or third if Kedah end as runners-up) could offer an AFC Cup slot if JDT clear the AFC Champions League qualifying rounds. The Red Eagles already have an AFC Cup spot after winning the FA Cup in May.

PERAK AND FELDA STAGE CUP COMEBACKS

Perak and Felda went into their respective Malaysia Cup quarter-final ties facing twin 3-1 deficits.

While the Bos Gaurus only needed a 2-0 win over Pahang to progress because of the away goal rule, Felda had a slightly tougher task against PKNP. The Fighters lost in their own backyard and needed to score three goals to progress,

It didn’t really matter where the teams played in term of support as neither enjoys a large following.

Perak produced an impressive fightback

PKNP took the lead to increase their margin to three goals but Felda flexed their muscles and showed their superior MSL status by scoring three goals before half-time. Zah Rahan Krangar then scored the second-half winner.

In Ipoh, Perak took the early lead through Gilmar Da Silva after just three minutes and got their second goal through the Brazilian again in the 63rd minute. Kenny Palraj and Nazrin Nawi scored to ensure a 4-0 win.

Perak play MSL champions JDT in the last four while Felda face defending champions Kedah.

JDT GET EPL AND SUPERSTAR ATTENTION

The Southern Tigers are gaining global attention following their record-extending fourth straight MSL crown.

Having already met and had photo opportunities with some of the biggest names in football, such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs, JDT were again among the sport’s elite, this time receiving congratulatory messages during two English matches.

Owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim's good foreign ties saw the club congratulated by the Carabao Group when Chelsea faced Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, while ties with Kingpower led to another message when Liverpool visited Leicester City in the Premier League at Kingpower Stadium on Saturday.

Beckham's Instagram post

"Indirectly it has placed JDT on the world map and escalated JDT's name in terms of commerciality, branding and international attention," said JDT president Tunku Aminah Sultan Ibrahim

Global superstar David Beckham was also pictured holding a JDT jersey and posted a congratulatory message on his Instagram account during his visit to Singapore and Malaysia last week.

[NEXT UP: That winning feeling and settling some finances]