Pahang made it two wins in a row in the Malaysia Cup on Tuesday after claiming a 2-1 Group A win over LIONSXII at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The defending champions took the lead after 13 minutes when R. Gopinathan’s cut-back was deflected into the path of Dickson Nwakaeme, who made no mistake in putting the ball into the back of the net from close range.
Three minutes from time, Tok Gajah doubled their tally after Azamuddin Akil found space down the right and laid the ball back to Fauzi Roslan, who sent an unstoppable first-time strike into the top corner.
The visitors did manage to pull one back in the fourth minute of injury-time in controversial fashion when the ball hit the linesman and bounced back into the field and – while some of the Pahang players expected play to be stopped – Safuwan Baharudin crossed for Faris Ramli to slot home at the back post.
Still, it proved to be too little too late for the LIONSXII as Zainal Abidin Hassan’s charges held out for the win.
The result means Tok Gajah are top of the group with a 100 per cent start to the campaign and are two points above FELDA United, who recorded a 3-2 win over Johor Darul Ta’zim II at the Majlis Perbandaran Selayang Stadium.
Having been handed the lead after just six minutes through Ahmad Syamim Yahya’s opener, the hosts looked firmly in control of proceedings when Edward Junior Wilson doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark.
However, Zaquan Adha pulled one back for JDT II from the penalty spot four minutes into the second half and in the 58th minute, Shafiq Shaharudin netted to remarkably level the scores for the visitors.
But FELDA always looked the likelier of the two sides to go on and claim the three points and that duly happened eight minutes after the hour mark; Shahrulnizam Mustapa emerging as the hero as he netted the winner for his side.
Over in Group C, Kelantan got their first points of the campaign after beating Penang 3-1 at the Sultan Mohammad IV Stadium.
The Red Warriors broke the deadlock in the tenth minute after patient build-up on the edge of the box eventually saw Badhri Radzi slip a neat ball into the path of Ahmad Fakri Saarani, who clinically fired his shot into the bottom corner.
11 minutes later, Fakri earned his side a penalty when he broke free inside the box before being hauled down by Fakhrul Radzi Yaacob; Francis Forkey Doe stepping up and sending G. Jeevananthan the wrong way.
Penang did reduce the deficit a minute before the hour mark after Lee Kil-hoon was left in acres of space down the right, and unselfishly played the ball to Rafiuddin Roddin for a simple tap-in.
Nonetheless, the hosts wrapped up the three points three minutes from time when Fakri was gifted his second goal of the evening by Jeevananthan; the Panthers keeper inexplicably allowing a tame shot from his opponent to roll in at the near post after an error in judgement.
Kelantan’s victory saw them move off the foot of the table into second place and they are currently one point behind leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim, who were held to a 0-0 draw by ATM at the Larkin Stadium.
Tuesday’s Malaysia Cup Results
LIONSXII 1-2 Pahang
FELDA United 3-2 Johor Darul Ta’zim II
Kelantan 3-1 Penang
Johor Darul Ta’zim 0-0 ATM