# R. Surendran scores winner for Malacca against N.Sembilan in Paroi
# Battle heats ups for second slot for promotion as JDT II and PKNS win
# JDT II whip Armed Forces 3-0
# PKNS edge Sime Darby 2-1
By Rizal Abdullah
The rain came as a blessing and Malacca United are headed for promotion to the elite Super League after a hard earned 1-0 win over Negri Sembilan on Tuesday saw them tighten their grip on the 100PLUS Premier League title.
R. Surendran delivered the winner on 79 minutes after Negri goalkeeper Kaharuddin Abdul Rahman could only parry G. Puavaneswaran’s cross from the right. Surendran was quick to react and sent the ball into the net with Kaharuddin caught on the wrong foot.
Until then Kaharuddin was a stumbling block to Malacca United – playing without their influential skipper Ilija Spasojevic (Montengero) and midfielder Labinot Harbuzi (Sweden) – because of injuries.
With three matches to go and 48 points after 19 matches Malacca United are headed a for a fairy tale finish after only one season in the 100PLUS Premier League.
Winning the title, which comes with promotion to the elite Super League, will make up for their failure to make the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals.
In the Malaysia Cup, Malacca United could have finished second in their group – Group D – but got “fixed” when leaders Felda United virtually threw away their last game against Negri by fielding an under-strength side and lost 3-0 in Paroi.
Malacca United’s 2-0 win over Terengganu in Kuala Terengganu counted for nothing as Negri finished on 12 points, the same as Felda, while Malacca ended up in third spot with nine points.
However, the Malaysia Cup disappointment takes a back seat for coach Mat Zan Mat Aris and his team as they exacted revenge at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi on Tuesday night.
“The rain came as Rahmat (blessing). Things changed for us on the wet pitch. It was a hard earned win and with three more matches to go in the league we would like to take the title and earn promotion by winning our remaining matches,” said Mat Zan.
Malacca United’s next match is against JDT II at home on Sept 9 at the Hang Jebat Stadium. The other two matches are against PKNS and Sime Darby.
JDT II kept their second place in the 12-team league with 40 points after a 3-0 win over Armed Forces at the Temerloh Stadium in an afternoon match. Brazilian Paulo Rangel scored a brace and Che Rashid Che Halim one.
At the Selayang Stadium a 2-1 win by PKNS FC over bottom-placed Sime Darby kept the Selangor club in the promotion race with 39 points. Juan Manuel Cobelli (50th) and Matias Hadwa (61st) scored for PKNS while Syed Sobri Syed Mohd netted for Sime Darby.
100PLUS Premier League Results (Aug 23)
Sime Darby 1 PKNS FC 2
N.Sembilan 0 Malacca 1
Kuantan FA 1 Perlis 1
Sabah 2 K.Lumpur 2
UiTM FC 1 DRB Hicom 2
Armed Forces 0 JDT II 3