PENANG: Super League leaders Kedah pulled away at the top of the table after a hard-earned 2-0 victory over Johor FC but it was Penang who stole the thunder with their first home win of the season.
At the Darulaman Stadium, the Canaries went ahead after just a minute of play for the second consecutive home match – just like during their 4-1 win over Penang two weeks ago.
Nelson Martin found Marlon James with a clever pass, and the Super League topscorer did not waste the opportunity to net his 16th goal of the season.
And for the second match running, James netted a brace when he finished off a Sabri Abu move in the 58th minute.
The St Vincent and Grenadines striker also scored twice in last Saturday’s 2-1 win over Sarawak in Kuching.
With second-placed Selangor having a rest day, the win allowed the treble champions to open up a five-point cushion over the Red Giants at the top of the standings.
At the City Stadium, veteran striker Rosli Azizan made a faiytale debut in his second stint with basement side Penang with two goals in as many minutes for the Panthers to triumph 4-0 over Sarawak.
It was the islanders first home league win of the season, and it earned them three valuable points in their battle to avoid relegation.
Rosli’s goals gave the long-suffering Penang fans something to cheer about despite the absence of new Argentine strikers – Pedro Gonzalez and Ricardo Diaz, who are still awaiting their International Transfer Certificates (ITCs).
The home side made a dream start after Sarawak defender M. Saravanan handled the ball in the area in the first minute.
Although M. Prakash was made to re-take his penalty, he converted from the spot on both occasions to put the Panthers ahead.
Then came the Rosli show. Despite not having played for Penang the last two seasons ago, the Kedah-born striker looked as though he had never been away at all.
Rosli took advantage of a deflected shot that landed at his feet to beat Sarawak goalkeeper Mohd Firdaus Ishak for his first goal in the 23rd minute.
Barely a minute later, Lady Luck smiled on Rosli again. His initial attempt was parried away by Firdaus and the clearance rebounded off defender Shahrizam Mohamad, allowing Rosli to execute a bicycle kick to score his second goal.
Penang got their fourth when skipper Mat Saiful Mohd scored in the 58th minute.