MSL Round Report Week 9: In weekend laden with draws, Johor were comeback kings again

Johor Darul Takzim came back from behind yet again to secure a win over Negeri Sembilan while three other games ended in a draw

In a game of wasted chances, ATM battled Pahang at the Tuanku Abdul Rahmanin Stadium in a top-of-the-table clash which ended in an anti-climatic goalless draw. Most of the game was fought in midfield where the Gladiators kept pushing the Tok Gajah back. Marlon Alex James and Bruno Martelotto had most of the chances at goal but failed to find the back of the net.

Defending champions Kelantan’s title defence took a dent when they drew with Perak at the Sultan Mohammad IV Stadium. The Seladangs stunned the Red Warriors with a goal from Abdul Hadi Yahya in the second minute. The home side fought hard for over 80 minutes to eventually equalize when former Perak man, Keita Mandjou, found the back of the net. Despite the draw, Kelantan maintain their unbeaten home record of over 39 games which dates back to 2011.

The LionsXII traveled to Petaling Jaya to face struggling Felda United in game where a victory would have given them a chance to climb to the summit of the Malaysian Super League table. The blistering heat tired out the players from both sides who failed to score. LionsXII defender, Baihakki Khaizan, was sent off after two yellow cards - the second was for arguing with the referee. The visitors fought on with ten men against a nonchalant Felda side and held on for a point.

In arguably the most exciting match of the week, Johor Darul Takzim took on bottom-table Negeri Sembilan at the Larkin Stadium. The Deers took an unexpected lead in the 29th minute through captain Rashid Mahmud but their hopes of a win was dashed by Afiq Kamaruddin’s late equalizer. However, the Southern Tigers were not done. In the 91st minute, Nurul Azwan Royaand’ winner consigned Negeri to a ninth game without a victory to keep them rooted to the bottom of the table.

With the 2-0 win against PKNS, Terengganu are now three from three. E. Elavarasan’s men dominated the match from the start and Effa Owona opened the scoring at the eight-minute mark. Abdul Manaf Mamat scored the second for the Turtles in the 27th minute to seal the deal at the Petaling Jaya Stadium. Terengganu are now out of the bottom three in the league table.

In the only other un-played game in round nine, T-Team will host Selangor on March 5 in Kuala Terengganu.