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Round 1 of the 2013 Malaysia Cup campaign was full of surprises as big names like LionsXII, Kelantan, Selangor and Darul Takzim drop points

The much-anticipated 2013 Malaysia Cup kicked off last night with the first round of group stages. Favourites of each group were determined but that could have been the first mistake by pundits all round. Underdogs stole the spotlight, pulling off draws and even victories over competition-favourites like LionsXII, Selangor, Kelantan, Johor Darul Takzim and ATM. With that said, is there really a ‘Group of Death’ in this year’s Malaysia Cup?

 

GROUP A

The group’s top seed Selangor took the trip to visit Johor’s Malaysian Premier League (MPL) side in the opening game where they were slated as winners even before kickoff. This one turned out to be a bore goalless draw after the Johor side managed to hold out the Red Giants.

The other Group A match saw Sime Darby FC score a big away win at ATM in a 4-3 goal feast. It took only three minutes for the visiting team to take the lead when Togo international Togaba Kontiwa Komlan struck. He cancelled out the Armed Forces' equliser before Hadzirun Che Hamid made it 3-1 at the break. Fazrul Hazli netted Sime Darby’s fourth within a minute of the restart as ATM sparked a comeback via Irwan Fadzli and Venice Elphi. However, it was too little too late for the Malaysian Super League (MSL) team to salvage a point.

 

GROUP B

MSL bottom-dwellers clashed and with relegation written in their books, Kuala Lumpur-based Felda United fell to a 1-0 defeat to T-Team. It was all-square at half time but the Titans eked a solitary goal in the second period to take three points in their opening fixture.

The 'million-dollar' team, Johor Darul Takzim, were the biggest disappointment of the first round of the Malaysia Cup. Not only did they drop points to PKNS FC, they suffered a 2-0 loss after a poor showing at the Shah Alam Stadium. A Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh brace was enough too see off the Southern Tigers, who have lots to do to salvage their Malaysia Cup campaign.

 

GROUP C

The proverbial ‘Group of Death’ lived up to its name when defending Malaysia Cup champions Kelantan paid a visit to Pahang on Matchday 1. It was an even battle throughout but it was the Red Warriors who broke the deadlock with captain Badhri Radzi on target. With both sides, taken turns slamming shots at each other, the Elephants finally found the net from a set piece - Damion Stewart was at the end of a Hafiz Kamal corner to head home from close range.

Down-and-out Negeri Sembilan have been relegated to the Malaysian Premier League but they have come into the Malaysia Cup to prove a point. They dumped out Terengganu 2-0 convincingly to stake their claim at the title. A goal in either half ensured that the Turtles had no way of coming back.

 

GROUP D

Both the MSL and MPL champions dropped points in the first round of the Malaysia Cup with the LionsXII proving to be the biggest losers despite conjuring up a draw. The Singaporean side took the lead twice but Kedah displayed their fighting spirit to come back as many times through their main striker Alen Guc. It was nonetheless a last-minute penalty that saved the Green and Yellow a point at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

MPL champions Sarawak faced tough competition in the form of Perak but they the Crocs managed carry a 1-0 lead into the break. However, the Seladangs came back with all guns ablaze to score a double via their Brazilian sensation Paulo Rangel who netted the winner with a mere 10 minutes left on the clock.

 

FULL TIME SCORES

ATM 3-4 Sime Darby FC

Johor 0-0 Selangor

PKNS FC 2-0 Darul Takzim

LionsXII 2-2 Kedah

Perak 2-1 Sarawak

Pahang 1-1 Kelantan

Felda 0-1 T-Team

Terengganu 0-2 Negeri Sembilan

For complete group standings, click here!

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