Malaysia Cup Recap: Champions pass opening tests
Goals were at a premium in the first of the Malaysia Cup groups, with two draws on Saturday leaving all four teams with a point apiece.
Singaporean representatives LionsXII put their unbeaten home streak on the line against Malaysia Premier League (MPL) champions Kedah FA, but were stunned by a first-half cracker of a goal from Brazilian midfielder Sandro.
The opening strike drew an instant riposte from the LionsXII through Shahdan Sulaiman's deflected shot, but a lacklustre second half meant the spoils were shared, despite the visitors' Rizal Ghazali being handed his marching orders late on for a second bookable offence.
Over in Terengganu, the Turtles were unable to break down another MPL side in JDT II as the visitors held them to a 0-0 draw.
Terengganu had a chance to steal all three points in injury time after Ahmad Nordin Alias was brought down in the box, but star import Gustavo Lopez's penalty was pushed onto the post and out by goalkeeper Zulfadhli Mohamed.
Malaysia Super League champions JDT got their Malaysia Cup campaign off to a good start with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Perak.
Safee Sali made the most of a rare start, opening the scoring for the Southern Tigers by heading home an S.Chanturu cross in the 17th minute.
Chanturu then went from provider to goal-scorer, getting on the end of a Mahali Jasuli cross to hand Johor a comfortable lead they didn't relinquish for the rest of the game.
Perak tried their best to find a way back into the game, but were reduced to 10 men as Hisyamuddin Sha'ari was sent off in the 89th minute.
Meanwhile, Sarawak came away with a 1-0 win over MPL side ATM at the Sarawak State Stadium.
Joseph Kalang Tie was the toast of the town as he popped up with the winning goal for the Crocs.
Over at Shah Alam Stadium, the Red Warriors slew the Red Giants in a comprehensive 3-0 win as more than 1,000 police personnel were deployed in the stands to prevent crowd trouble.
Gilmar opened the scoring for Kelantan, heading in from close range in the 26th minute to beat Selangor custodian Norazlan Razali.
Austin Amutu then doubled the advantage with a chip over Norazlan shortly after the break after being released by Gilmar, before the Brazilian forward completed his brace by stabbing home during a goalmouth melee in the 52nd minute.
Felda United also beat T-Team by the same scoreline over at Selayang Stadium, with Ndumba Makeche collecting a brace of his own.
The Zambian forward's two goals sandwiched a fine penalty effort from veteran Indra Putra Mahayuddin, as T-Team's strikers failed to trouble their opponents.
Defending champions Pahang FA were given a real scare by PDRM, ultimately coming out on top in a crazy game by a 4-3 scoreline.
Azamuddin Akil took the match ball home with a fine hat-trick with the Elephants' first three goals, but PDRM refused to go down easily as they equalised at 1-1 and 3-3.
Pahang were made to sweat thanks to goals from Dramane Traore, Ali Ashfaq and Jaime Braganca, but they had Dickson Nwakaeme to thank after he scored the winner with 11 minutes to go.
Things were much easier for PKNS in the other Group D game, as the Red Ants romped to a 3-0 win over a poor Penang side.
The home team's task was made all but impossible as Hilton Moreira earned an early bath after a bad tackle on P Gunalan in just the 21st minute.
Goals to Mohd Nazrin Syamsulbahri, Gabriel Miguel Guerra and Nizam Abu Bakar put the result beyond doubt for PKNS ahead of their second game against group favourites Pahang.
Photo: Football Association of Singapore