BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
T-Team cruised to a third consecutive Super League win on Saturday, defeating Perak 3-0 in Kuala Terengganu. Mamadou Samassa opened the scoring in the ninth minute, before Wan Ahmad Amirzafran Wan Nadris and Farhod Tadjiyev compounded a dismal Perak side's misery in the second half.
T-Team went into the match on the back of a two-match winning streak, however, recently they had been hit by a six-point deduction punishment for the failure to settle their players' wages, a charge they are still appealing against.
Perak meanwhile have gone four matches without a win, needing to recover their form very quickly.
One record stands against the Bos Gaurus; they have never ever won against the Titans in Kuala Terengganu, since they first met competitively in 2010.
The home side coach Rahmad Darmawan fielded all of his foreign players save for midfielder Dilshod Sharofetdinov, who was injured at the last minute. Their attack was led by Hakim Hassan, Farhod Tadjiyev and Mamadou Samassa.
Perak boss Mehmet Durakovic too fielded all but one of his foreign legion; Vladislav Mirchev. Also absent from the starting lineup was skipper; Shahrom Kalam. Both were benched at the start. The role of captain was shouldered by Malaysia international Nasir Basharuddin.
Only nine minutes were needed by the home side to draw first blood.
Perak's Yashir Pinto inexplicably tried sending a cross-field pass just outside his own penalty box, but the pass was easily intercepted by Samasa. The Malian chested the ball down, and struck right from where he was standing towards the top far corner. Perak goalkeeper Hafizul Hakim got a touch to the shot, but it was too weak to deflect the try out.
The Titans decided to dial it down a notch afterwards, and that allowed the Bos Gaurus were able to dominate possession and do most of the attacking.
Rahmad was forced to make an early change, when young defender Arif Fadzilah Abu Bakar was injured. He was substituted off for Aqil Irfanuddin Mohd Sabri in the 34th minute.
In the 40th minute Hafiz Kamal struck from outside the T-Team box. The shot was accurate, but goalkeeper Hafidz Romly never took his eyes off the ball.
Perak defender Amirul Azahan Aznan received the first booking two minutes from the halftime whistle, for a cynical challenge on T-Team midfielder Nor Hakim Hassan.
When Pinto was fouled right outside of the T-Team penalty area just moments before halftime, freekick specialist Hafiz Kamal stepped up to take the dead ball and give his team the equaliser. He curled his shot towards the top near corner, but it only grazed the top of the cross bar. The first half finished 1-0.
In the 52nd minute, T-Team missed three back-to-back chances to double their lead, following a counter attack. Perak had Hafizul to thank for, for keeping the ball out everytime.
With time running out, Durakovic substituted Zaquan Adha Abdul Razak for Mirchev. The Malaysia international appeared dejected at being taken off by the Australian.
However it was the Titans who doubled their lead, in the 72nd minute, and again Samassa had a hand in it. A freekick from the right found Samassa who connected with the delivery with a powerful header. Again Hafizul was on hand to keep the chance out, but this time the rebound fell right in front of Wan Ahmad Amirzafran. The defender did not waste anytime and smashed it home.
Just four minutes later, Farhodmade it 3-0. Nor Hakim Hassan squared the ball early from the left, and the Uzbek smashed it home from the edge of the penalty area with a pinpoint volley. That was the last goal of the match.
The match ended in a 3-0 win to the Titans, and their fans can take heart that they will not suffer too badly due to the points deduction. Looking at the scoreline, it was hard to believe that they had lost playmaker Dilshod at the last minute.
Durakovic meanwhile must be skating on thin ice now, following another dismal outing by his men. Out of eight matches under him, Perak have only recorded one win.
T-Team: Hafidz (GK), Arif (Aqil 34'), Maiga, Amir, Hassan, Fauzi (Zarulizwan 86'), Hasbullah (C), Badrul, Hakiem (Azalinullah 90'), Farhod, Samasa.
Perak : Hafizul (GK), Nazirul, Thiago, Shahrul, Azhan, Yashir (Kenny 79'), Hafiz, Nasir (C), Zaquan (Mirchev 66'), Faton (Khairil 58'), Hadi.