MSL2017 Best Players: #3 Thiago Augusto Fernandes

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Thiago Augusto, Felda United, Junior Eldstal, Johor Darul Ta'zim, Super League
Johor Southern Tigers
Half a season was all that Felda United's Thiago Augusto Fernandes needed to prove himself as one of the best signings in the 2017 MSL.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Goal counts down the best players from the top competitions in the Malaysian football season in 2017, and here's number three.

While Felda United's Norshahrul Idlan Talaha got on #3 of Goal's MSL flop list, his Brazilian teammate has got himself in the same position on our Best Players list.

Felda United's re-signing of Brazilian forward Thiago Augusto Fernandes in the mid-season has got to be the one of the best signings of the season. Following a poor start of the season that led to a change of head coaches, the Fighters then replaced all but one of their foreign signings in the mid-season transfer window.

One of their new imports was Thiago, who had earlier been in their payroll, from 2015 to the end of 2016.

The 27-year old had impressed in his earlier stint with them, but this time around he took it to greater heights.

Whereas in the first half of the season they had recorded only four wins out of 14 domestic matches (29%), after Thiago's arrival they won 11 out of 19 domestic matches (58%).

In the second half of the Super League they were the best side and finished in third, while reaching the semi-final stage of the Malaysia Cup.

But Thiago's contributions are not only apparent when viewed from the perspective of Felda's performance.

He played nine league matches, scoring 14 goals in them, and appeared in nine Malaysia Cup matches, and found the back of the net four times, for an average of one goal per match.

MSL2017 Best Players: #3 Thiago Augusto Fernandes

More amazingly, he scored a staggering four hat-tricks in both competitions, making him one of the best forwards as well as players in Malaysian competitions this season.

Fighters boss Satiananthan Bhaskaran last month grumbled about the side's decision in 2016 to part ways with the same players that took them to a second-place league finish, which then led to their early-2017 season struggles and his appointment, so this time around he must do all he can to keep the Brazilian on his roster, in order to ensure that his side remain competitive next season.

Check out #5 and #4 of MSL2017 Best Players, and wait for #2 tomorrow!

In the meantime, read our MSL2017 Most Promising Players and Worst Flops lists.