Pahang 2-1 Negeri Sembilan: Elephants edge Deers to stay top
Dollah Salleh’s league leading team keep their 100% record in the league intact with a slim home win over Divaldo Elves’ charges
By Prem Kumar
Surprise package Pahang continued their stay at the top of the Malaysian Super League (MSL) with a 2-1 win over Negeri Sembilan at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan.
Goals from Fauzi Roslan and Faizol Hussien helped them maintain their unbeaten MSL record and gave the former giants of Malaysian football all three points for the third successive time this season.
Pahang started brightly and had their first attempt on goal as early as the second minute via Faizol’s free-kick, which forced Negeri keeper Hamsani Ahmad into a save.
In the 15th minute, the homesters threatened again through another free-kick, but this time Shahrizan Salleh’s cleverly worked set-piece just missed the bar by a couple of inches.
The Elephants’ pressure on Negeri’s goal finally paid off when Fauzi broke the deadlock on 28 minutes with his third goal in as many matches.
After taking the lead, the home team went on to dominate possession and restricted the visitors to shadow chasing exercise, and as a result Divaldo Elves’ team took 38 minutes to register their first shot on goal through Shahurain Abu Samah.
Dollah Salleh’s men could have gone to the break with a two goal advantage if not for the bar, which stood in the way of R. Surendran’s effort in the first half’s time added on.
National winger R. Gopinathan had two back to back efforts soon after the game re-started but the 23-year-old failed to find the back of the net on both occasions. First, his near post header from an Azamuddin Akil cross was pushed away for a corner by Hamsani and then his left foot shot that followed a fine solo run was deflected away by S. Sivanesan’s calf.
However, the 2004 league champions did not relent and reaped the rewards for their hard work 15 minutes from the end, when Faizol found the net with a low left foot drive inside the box to double the lead.
And although Negeri managed to pull one back late on through substitute Rahizi Rasib, the home side hung on to collect full points and consolidate their place as the league leaders.
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