At the State Stadium in Kuching, defending champions Lions XII crumbled to a 3-1 defeat, their second in a row, having lost 2-1 to Kelantan at home last week. Armed Forces, beaten 4-1 by Pahang in Kuantan in their last match, came from behind to hold Selangor to a 1-1 draw at the Selayang Stadium.
Bottom-placed Sime Darby won only their second match with a 2-0 win over Perak at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh.
Vincent Bikana’s 16th minute goal off a corner was enough for the Turtles to walk away with full points.
This is the third time this season the cash-rich Southern Tigers, who have some of the biggest names in Malaysian football, have succumbed to defeat on the east coast.
They were beaten 1-0 by T-Team at this venue on Jan 25 and suffered another moral crushing loss in Kuantan when Pahang won 3-2 on Feb 8.
It was a thriller at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru as the Red Warriors took the lead in the first minute through skipper Mohd Badhri Radzi from a freekick with some help from Pahang goalkeeper Khairul Azhan who allowed the ball to slip through his hands.
The lead lasted only 12 minutes as Saifulnizam Miswan flicked the ball home off a corner by Azidan Sarudin.
Pahang took a 2-1 lead midway in the second half through Faizol Hussein, who finished off a move that began with former Kelantan player Dickson Nwakaeme making inroads on the left.before flicking the ball to Matias Conto who in turn found the unmarked Faizol to put the finishing touches.
Khairul Izwan, who had replaced the injured Fakri Saari in the 64th minute, turned hero when he drilled home a grounder past a sea of legs after being set up by Francis Forkey Doe in the 80th minute.
“It was a great game by some tired players. I am happy with the draw on a good pitch,” said Kelantan coach Steve Darby.
Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan was equally happy with the valuable point, but was disappointed with two missed chances in the closing stages.
Terengganu and Kelantan have 13 points each after last night’s matches but the Turtles have a better goal difference of plus five (7-2) to Kelantan’s tally of 12-8..
Sarawak moved into third place with 12 points after the win over Lions. S. Chanturu was the hero for the Crocs with a brace in the 16th and 40th minutes before Rashid Aya hammered the third in the 75th minute. Nazrul Nazari netted the consolation for the Lions.