PENANG Panthers bashed Sabah 4-0 in a President’s Cup match.
The Panthers were in ferocious form, firing three past the Sabah post in the first half, and adding another at the start of the second half during the game at the Universiti Sains Malaysia grounds.
The humiliation could have been worse for Sabah if Panthers coach S. Veloo had not opted to rest several key players including Mohamed Aznie Taib and Som Keat Preseart after they secured a comfortable lead.
Mohamed Aznie tore holes in the Sabah defence in the first half.
For his first goal in the 26th minute, he galloped past the entire Sabah defence to latch onto an Abdul Qayyum Mohamed Jabrullah Khan long through pass. His well-placed shot gave Sabah goalkeeper Mohamed Armin Muhammad no chance.
Five minutes later, Sabah gave away a free kick and Mohamed Aznie was right on target again.
For the third goal in the 35th minute, Som Keat was the provider.
He outdanced his marker Mohamed Nazrien Sani and his grounder cross towards the face of goal gave a lurking Mohamed Ikhmal Ibrahim the simple task of tapping the ball into the goal.
The Panthers returned for the second half in fine form and barely two minutes later, Som Keat handed Sabah the fourth blow. No wonder Veloo was all smiles at the final whistle on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Selangor’s PKNS FC crashed to a 2-0 home defeat to Felda United FC at the PKNS Sports Complex.
This allowed Penang to take over the second spot at the end of the first round challenge in Group B.
The Panthers have 17 points and are still four points adrift of Group B leaders Kedah who are sitting pretty with 21 points from six wins and three draws.
The next challenge for the Panthers is the rematch against Sabah at the Likas Sports Complex in Kota Kinabalu when the second round action kicks off on Wednesday.
Sime Darby FC bt Perak 2-1; Johor Darul Ta’zim II bt Sarawak 4-2; Perlis bt Terengganu T-Team 2-1; Pahang bt Armed Forces 3-0; Terengganu bt Selangor 2-1.
Felda United FC bt PKNS FC 2-0; Kedah bt Kuala Lumpur 2-0; Malacca drew Kelantan 1-1; Police bt Negri Sembilan 2-1; Penang bt Sabah 4-0.