* Champs JDT edge Lions XII 1-0 at Larkin
* Pahang back in hunt with big win over Kelantan
* Perak suffer another defeat
* Sime Darby remain winless after 19 matches in 1-1 draw with Sarawak
There is nothing to shout about defending champions Johor Darul Takzim’s 1-0 win over Lions XII in Wednesday’s Super League match at the Larkin Stadium in Johor Bahru.
It was the three points that came with the win and keeping their place at the top of the 12-team league with only three more matches to go.
The Argentine charm claimed full points for the Southern Tigers with the winning strike on 55 minutes. Figueroa was set up by Hariss Harun and took a swift turn to the right and drilled home a low shot that caught Lions’ goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud stranded.
The win kept JDT at the top with 43 points after 19 matches – one point ahead of title chasers Pahang who were involved in a eight goal thriller in the 5-3 win over Kelantan at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan.
This weekend’s matches will decide the winners – which is a battle between JDT and Pahang. JDT travel to Kota Bahru to face Kelantan in a very difficult match while Pahang face Perak in Ipoh.
Perak who rested their head coach Datuk M. Karathu after the 2-0 defeat to Felda United at home last week are winless in their last five matches.
Pahang bounced back in style after the 4-2 defeat to Lions XII at the Jalan Besar Stadium last week but the fact that Kelantan managed to score three in Kuantan are strong signals that the backline needs beefing up.
Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan said: “We let in soft goals and this is cause for concern although at this stage the three points keeps us in the title race.”
The Elephants were 2-0 up inside eight minutes while the Red Warriors were still finding their footing. R. Surendran scored the first in the seventh minute after Matias Conti’s attempt from a R. Gopinathan’s cross came off the left upright.
Hardly had the celebrations died down when a three-man move ended with Nigerian Dickson Nwakaeme throwing himself forward to head home a Surendran cross on the right.
Then out of the blue Kelantan pulled one back when Nor Farhan Muhammad’s attempt from inside the box took a deflection and sailed into the Pahang net with goalkeeper Khairul Azhan caught stranded. Pahang 2-1.
Farhan, a former international went on to score a hattrick with two more goals which came in the 70th and 90th (penalty) minutes after Pahang had added three more to their tally – through Conti (43rd), Zesh Rehman (53rd) and Azamuddin Akil (four minutes into added time) – making up for giving away a penalty earlier.
Selangor were hard pressed in their 3-2 win over Premier League bound Armed Forces which took the Red Giants to third place in the league with 32 points. The homesters got their goals at the Shah Alam Stadium through Guilherme De Paula (32nd, penalty), Ahmad Hazwan Nakri (48th) and Shahrom Kalam (55th) while Abdulafees Abdulsalam (47th) and Shukur Adan (90th) netted for the soldiers.
Meanwhile, Terengganu continued their rich winning form with their sixth winin a row – defeating Perak 2-1 at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu.
Ex-national player Ismail Faruqi got the opening goal in the 22nd minute before in-form Issey Nakajima added the second on 26 minutes. Bobby Gonzales got Perak’s consolation goal in the 37th minute.
At the Selayang Stadium winless Sime Darby managed a 1-1 draw against Sarawak.
SUPER LEAGUE RESULTS (AUG 12)
PAHANG 4 KELANTAN 3
JDT 1 LIONS XII 0
TERENGGANU 2 PERAK 1
SIME DARBY 1 SARAWAK 1
SELANGOR 3 ARMED FORCES 2
POLICE 1 FELDA UNITED 0