Johor Darul Ta’zim concluded their Malaysia Cup Group C campaign with an unbeaten record after beating Kelantan 3-0 at the Sultan Mohammad IV Stadium on Tuesday.
Harimau Selatan took the lead two minutes before the half-hour mark when Norshahrul Idlan Talaha played a visionary slide-rule pass to pick out Jorge Pereyra Diaz, who made no mistake in firing into the back of the net.
Three minutes after halftime, it was 2-0 as Diaz raced down the left and played the ball towards the far post to leave Jasazrin Jamaludin with a simple tap-in.
And the win was sealed by the visitors in the 67th minute as they added a third after once again exploiting their opponents down the left; Fazly Mazlan floating an inch-perfect cross to Luciano Figueroa, who clinically steered his header past a hapless Shahrizan Ismail.
To make matters worse for Kelantan, they finished the game with ten men after Nik Shahrul Azim was shown a second yellow two minutes from time for a hefty challenge on Daudsu Jamaluddin.
In the group’s other game, bottom side Penang gave their fans something to cheer about as they claimed their first win of the campaign after beating ATM 2-1 at the Bandaraya Stadium.
It was the visitors who had taken the lead courtesy of Hairuddin Omar’s opener in the 37th minute, only for Luiz Ricardo to fire the hosts level seven minutes after halftime.
11 minutes later, Lee Kil-hoon popped up to score what proved to be the winner for Penang to ensure they did not finish without a victory to their name.
Over in Group A, FELDA United wrapped up top spot after cruising to a 3-1 triumph over ten-man LIONSXII at the Majlis Perbandaran Selayang Stadium.
It was Zah Rahan Krangar who broke the deadlock for FELDA after nine minutes after he received possession on the edge of the box, before drilling a shot into the bottom corner.
But the LIONSXII equalised in the 22nd minute when Sufian Anuar picked up a loose ball by the touchline and played it back for Faris Ramli to slot home.
However, the hosts’ lead was restored four minutes later after Ndumba Makeche forced his way down the right before sending a cross to Indra Putra Mahayuddin, whose first-time effort was too powerful for Izwan Mahbud to keep out.
And a minute before the half-hour mark, the contest was effectively over after Makeche scored his side’s third with a fine individual effort; racing away from Baihakki Khaizan and skipping inside Afiq Yunos before deftly clipping his shot over the onrushing Izwan.
The visitors’ miserable evening was compounded in injury-time when midfielder Zulfahmi Arifin was sent off for a second bookable offence.
And finally, second-placed Pahang were unable to head into the quarter-finals in winning form after being held to a 1-1 draw by Johor Darul Ta’zim II at the Pasir Gudang Corporation Stadium.
A Nicolas Delmonte penalty in the 14th minute had put the hosts in front but they found themselves down to ten men in the 67th minute when Juan Manuel Carrasco was shown a straight red, along with Pahang striker Matias Conti.
With both sides playing a man down, it was Pahang who coped better and went on to force the draw in the 73rd minute when Zesh Rehman popped up to net the equaliser.
Tuesday’s Malaysia Cup Results
FELDA United 3-1 LIONSXII
Johor Darul Ta’zim II 1-1 Pahang
Kelantan 0-3 Johor Darul Ta’zim
Penang 2-1 ATM