PENANG: It was better late than never for Penang to carve up a 3-2 win over Malacca Telekom in a Premier I match at the State Stadium in Batu Kawan on Tuesday.
It was a scrappy match but it did not matter to their fans and the team because the goal three minutes into injury time by leftback Chow Chee Weng put them back on the winning track. It atoned for the injury time goal they conceded in the 0-1 defeat by Kedah in the previous match.
With Perlis and Sarawak stumbling in their matches against Sabah and Johor FC, the Panther's win over Telekom moved them two rungs up to fourth place in the 13-team league.
Penang have 26 points from 16 matches and are behind Pahang on inferior goal difference. They trail leaders and defending champions Perak by six points and are four points adrift Kedah.
Coach Irfan Bakti have every reason to be smiling from ear to ear as he looked back at their game.
“It was a scrappy match and we struggled to get the win. But I am not complaining because the win has put us on track and in a bracket for an automatic qualification to the Super League next year,” he said.
But Irfan was quick to warn his players against complacency if they are to be among the six teams in Premier I to gain automatic places in the eight-team Super League.
Against Telekom, Penang not only squandered a penalty, which came just after 23 minutes, but they also let slip a two-goal lead.
In a two-minutes blitz from the 30th minute, Penang scored through former national striker Hasmawi Hassan and midfielder R. Suresh Kumar.
But they let down their guard and conceded two goals to Ghanaian Isaac Kuffour in the 37th and 52nd minute.
Thanks to Chee Weng, they trooped off as the winners.