FELDA United headed to the top of the Malaysia Super League (MSL) with a comfortable 2-0 win over Pahang FC in the Pahang Derby at the Tunku Abdul Razak Stadium earlier tonight.
The Fighters head coach Irfan Bakti fielded a relatively strong line-up with the likes of Zahrangan Krangar, Muhd Hadin Azman and Francis Forkey Doe. The Elephants boss Ahmad Shaharuddin Ahmad Rosdi went into his last game today after resigning as head coach without team captain Zesh Rahman in the squad, who is currently suffering from an injury.
Pahang FC started the game brightly after FELDA United goalkeeper Suffian Rahman punched out German Pacheco’s swerving free kick on the 2nd minute of the match. The Argentinian attacker was involved again after he delivered a beautiful free kick for an open Nejc Potokar in the box, but the Serbian defender did not manage to get enough power in his header.
Francis Forkey Doe won and then chested down the ball in the penalty box for Ridzuan Pula but the number 29 flopped his shot as his effort went wide off Muhammad Saufi’s goal.
Ahmad Shaharuddin’s men continued their dominating display when Faisal Halim’s shot from outside the box was disappointing as it went a yard or two off target. Salamon Raj did brilliantly to create some space to send in a cross on the 10th minute of the Pahang derby.
A few minutes later, team captain Shukor Adan came close to scoring after his header from Ridzuan’s cross hit the side netting. The winger dispatched one more from the corner flag in quick succession but Francis Forkey Doe’s effort from 5 yards out was saved by Muhd Saufi.
Francis Forkey Doe hit the back of the net after curling the ball to the top corner on the 30th minute, but he was ruled offside after Nejc Potakar and Saifulnizam Miswan pushed forward.
The Liberian then missed from close distance after his effort went straight into the crowd before failing to hit the target from a one-on-one position. However, he redeemed himself on the 36th minute with a delicious free kick to break the deadlock for Irfan Bakti’s men.
Hadin Azman, who was surprisingly left out of Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s national squad, almost doubled his team’s lead but his shot from outside the box flew a couple of inches wide.
The second half kicked off and FELDA United started where they left off in the first half – in pole position. Uzbekistan international Lutfulla Turaev found Ridzuan Pula in the penalty box but the ex-Harimau Muda player did not get enough power in this attempt.
Lutfulla Turaev got into a heated argument with Nejc Potokar on the 52nd minute, but referee Amirul Izwan Yaacob chose to warn them instead of flashing a yellow or red card.
Pahang FC captain Matthew Davies attempted to level the game on the 70th minute with a half-volley but his glorious attempt was put out for a corner by Suffian Rahman in goal.
Irfan Bakti’s men immediately responded with attempts from midfield duo Zahrahan Krangar and Lutfulla Turaev on the 75th and 77th minute of the MSL match respectively.
FELDA United scored their second goal of the game after Francis Forkey Doe pressured Nejc Potokar and the Serbian defender forced it in the back of his net eight minutes from time.
The attendance at the Tunku Abdul Razak stadium tonight was around 15,000 spectators.
Johor Darul Ta’azim (JDT), who beat FELDA United recently, have the chance to regain top spot in the MSL when they face PDRM tomorrow at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka.