* Negri Sembilan delay Kedah’s title hopes
* Super League beckons Penang after big win over Sabah
* Lowly UiTM FC hold T-Team to a 2-2 draw
* PKNS FC struggle for a draw against DRB Hicom in an afternoon match
Kedah’s hopes of early celebrations in winning the Premier League title and earning promotion to the elite Super League were put on hold by mid-table Negri Sembilan with a 2-0 win at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi on Friday.
A disappointed Kedah coach Tan Cheng Hoe, however, has taken the setback in his stride and consoled himself that it could be a “blessing in disguise” for his team to seal the title at home in front of their fans at the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Setar this Tuesday when the face Sabah.
“As a coach I am disappointed when my team loses but there is always a silver lining in this. It could be a blessing in disguise to win the title and earn promotion in front of our fans and supporters when we play Sabah.
“Still, we cannot afford to take things for granted on the homestretch. Sabah has our respects but we will pull no punches as it is our last league match at home this season.
“Negri played the right tactics in denying us a win or a draw with their defensive approach and counter attacks. This caught us when our backline lost focus to concede the two goals,” said Cheng Hoe.
Negri scored two late second-half goals through Francis Forkey Doe and N. Thanabalan in the 72nd and 83rd minutes respectively for the win at Paroi.
Kedah, however, kept their place at the top with 42 points after 20 matches while Penang hammered Sabah 4-0 at the City Stadium in George Town to sneak into second place with 39 points – ahead of T-Team on goal difference. Penang’s tally is 34-17 while T-Team’s figures read 41-24.
Penang ran riot in front of their home supporters with a flurry of goals which began in 41st minute when Elias Sulaiman found the net. Former Johor FC player Azinee Taib hit a brace in the 48th and 73rd minutes while Faiz Subri one in the 61st minute.
T-Team dropped points yet again with a 2-2 draw against UiTM FC at the UiTM Stadium in Shah Alam in the wake of their 1-1 draw against DRB Hicom at home last week.
The Titans scored a brace through Sadriddin Abdulaev (34th and 54th) while UiTM FC replied through Dao Bakary (41st) and Aiman Syazwan (52nd).
PKNS FC hauled themselves into fourth place with a 1-1 draw against DRB Hicom in an afternoon match played at Stadium Proton in Tanjung Malim.
Coach E. Elavarasan’s team took the lead in the 18th minute through Faiz Isa but the homesters shared the spoils with a 75th minute equaliser through Ivan Babic.
“Playing in the afternoon heat affected my players…but I am happy with the way my players coped with the situation. The final two matches will decide the positions of the teams and we will go in fighting to move,” said Elavarasan.
JDT II came back from a goal down to snatch a 2-1 win over Kuala Lumpur at the Pasir Gudang Stadium for their ninth win.
The visitors went ahead in the 33rd minute through their Korean import Choi Hyun Yeon but former international Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak (52nd) and Akmal Ishak (69th) assured the Johor outfit full points.
PREMIER LEAGUE RESULTS (Aug 14)
N. SEMBILAN 2 KEDAH 0
JDT II 2 K.LUMPUR 1
DRB HICOM 1 PKNS FC 1
PENANG 4 SABAH 0