SHAHZAN MUDA and Sime Darby have taken over the top spots in the FAM Cup competition.
Shahzan Muda, considered the feeder squad for Pahang, edged MOF FC 2-1 at the Temerloh Municipal Council Sports Complex in a Group A match while Sime Darby were on song at the State Stadium in Kuching as they scored a thumping 5-1 win over Kuching FA in Group B.
Shahzan Muda, however, had to come from behind for their morale boosting win. After a scoreless first half, MOF took the lead in the 51st minute when Mohamad Shamirul Mohamad Rani scored.
But Shahzan Muda replied, in the next minute, through Mohd Aizuddin Che Aziz. Mohamad Hariz Fazrin Mohd Nazri scored Shahzan Muda’s winning goal in the 76th minute.
Following the win and table toppers UKM FC settling for a 1-1 draw with MPKB-BRI-UBES at the UKM Sports Complex in Bangi, Shahzan Muda have moved to the top of the eight-team table with 20 points from six win, two draws and two defeats.
Tajuddin said being at the top of the table was encouraging but they have a long journey ahead.
“We have to be consistent to match our rivals. Our mission is to groom these players to play for Pahang in the Super League. The players are giving their best. We have reasons to look ahead to the season with confidence,” said Tajuddin.
In Kuching, Sime Darby, with an extra man for a major part of the game, did not face any problem in overcoming Kuching FA.
Kuching FA were reduced to 10 men in the 35th minute when Ahmad Shakri Tuah was shown the red card for a second yellow card offence. The score then was 2-1 favouring Sime Darby.
Sime Darby took the lead in the 10th minute through Che Mohamad Ariff Che Kamaruddin but Nazaruddin Bohri replied for Kuching FA in the 15th minute, to make it 1-1.
In the 24th minute, Dzulfahmi Hadi scored to give Sime Darby a 2-1 lead. After Ahmad Shakri’s dismissal, Sime Darby took advantage and scored three goals through Mohamad Zul Fahmi Awang (39th minute), Muhammad Nazrul Kamaruddin (54th) and Dzulfahmi (82nd).
Sime Darby coach Ahmad Yusoff admitted that with an extra man they had the edge.
“Kuching FA were determined to overcome the deficit when they were reduced to 10 men. In the process, they allowed us to launch a series of raids and it resulted in our convincing win.
“We are in a good position to be among the top four teams in Group B. We will not be having any match this weekend. Our next match is after the fasting month. So we have to ensure the players remain competitive,” said Ahmad.
In another Group B match at the Petaling Jaya Stadium in Kelana Jaya, 10-man Petaling Jaya Rangers were held to a 2-2 draw by Terengganu City.
PJ Rangers’ new signing Akmal Ishak was flashed the red card after being involved in a scuffle with Terengganu City’s Munnawar Ali in the 44th minute.
After the break, PJ Rangers, despite playing with one man less, dominated the game and Mohamad Faizwan Abdullah scored in the 54th minute. But Terengganu City scored two quick goals through Zailan Mohamad and Saiful Nizam in the 68th and 71st minutes respectively.
Desperate PJ Rangers brought in R. Barath Kumar and the defender salvaged a point for PJ Rangers with the equaliser in the 78th minute.
With the one point, PJ Rangers slipped to second spot in Group B, with 18 points. Sime Darby, who have played a match more, are leading the seven-team-table with 19 points.
PJ Rangers coach Mat Zan Mat Aris said he had to change his tactics after Akmal’s sending off.
“We could have won as we dominated the match. The players should be commended for their determination which resulted in the draw,’’ said Mat Zan.
PJ Rangers will have the chance to regain the top spot in Group B when they meet Malaysian Malays at the Melawati Stadium in Kuala Selangor on Sunday.
In another Group B match. SAMB FC moved to the third spot after a 3-2 win over Malaysian Malays at the Hang Tuah Stadium in Melaka. SAMB’s goals came from Shakir Samad (2) and Hafizuddin Said.
The FAM Cup competition has 15 teams, divided into two groups, involved in the home and away league.
Group A has eight teams while there are seven teams in Group B.
After the completion of the preliminary rounds, the top four teams from each group will qualify for the home and away quarter-finals and semi-finals. The final will also be played over two legs.
The champions and runners-up will gain promotion to the Premier League in 2018.
Group A: Shahzan Muda bt MOF FC 2-1; Hanelang drew Kuala Lumpur City Hall 0-0; UKM FC drew MPKB-BRI-UBES 1-1; Felcra bt KDMM 3-1.
Group B: Sime Darby bt Kuching FA 5-1; SAMB FC bt Malaysian Malays 3-2; Petaling Jaya Rangers drew Terengganu City 2-2.Fixtures
Sunday (kick off 4.45pm unless stated)
Group A: Kuala Lumpur City Hall vs UKM FC (UM Sports Arena, Kuala Lumpur – 8.45pm); Shahzan Muda vs Hanelang FC (Temerloh Municipal Council Sports Complex – 8.45pm); MPKB-BRI-UBES vs Felcra (Sultan Mohamad IV Stadium , Kota Baru – 8.45pm); MOF FC vs KDMM (Inspen Stadium, Bangi – 8.45pm.
Group B: Malaysia Malays vs Petaling Jaya Rangers (Melawati Stadium, Kuala Selangor); Kuching FA vs SAMB FC (State Stadium, Kuching – 4.15pm); Terengganu City vs Negri Sembilan Prisons (Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium, Kuala Terengganu – 8.45pm)