Saturday, 29 March 2014 | MYT 11:11 PM
Elephants charge into Super League lead
Pahang’s Dickson Nwakaeme (left) celebrate with his teammates after scoring the first goal in a 2-0 win over Perak at the Darul Makmur Stadium. - NIK NAIZI HUSIN / The Star
PETALING JAYA: Pahang surged to the top of the Super Leage standings for the first time when they made short work of basement side Perak for a 2-0 win at the Darul Makmur Stadium.
Nigerian Dickson Nwakaeme opened accounts in the 10th minute before nippy winger R. Gopinathan added the second in the 36th minute on Saturday.
Pahang lead the 12-team standings with 19 points from 10 matches. They are two points ahead of Terengganu and Selangor, who are tied on goal difference in second and third positions respectively.
The Elephants continued to show progress under new coach Zainal Abidin Hassan. Since the former international replaced Australian Ron Smith in the middle of last month, the east coast side have been undefeated in the last five matches – racking up four wins and a draw.
In Larkin, Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and Sarawak shared the spoils after playing to a 1-1 draw.
The visitors stunned the home side with the opening goal through S. Chanturu in the 17th minute before Argentine Luciano Figueroa got the equaliser in the 29th minute.
It was a closely-contested match and the Crocs’ defence, led by skipper Ronny Harun, did well to shut out out their opponents’ formidable strike force of Figueroa, Pablo Aimar, Mohd Amri Yahyah and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha.
Chanturu caught JDT goalkeeper Norazlan Razali by surprise with a long range shot when he floated the ball in from 25m out.
Luckily for JDT, Figueroa cancelled out the lead when he rounded Sarawak goalkeeper Sani Anuar Kamsani after latching onto Nurul Azwan Roya’s through ball in the 29th minute.
In Shah Alam, Selangor got away with a point after being held to a 2-2 draw by PKNS FC.
PKNS skipper Mohd Helmi Remeli put the ball into his own net in the 18th minute but Mohd Arip Amiruddin cancelled out Selangor’s lead in the 22nd minute.
Mohd Arip struck for the second time in the 74th minute but the club side’s joy was short-lived as Mohd Afiq Azmi equalised a minute later for the Red Giants.