KUALA LUMPUR: Defending Super League champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) strengthened their lead at the top of the league by thrashing closest rivals Sabah FC 4-0 at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Iskandar Puteri yesterday.
The Southern Tigers, who dominated the match from the start, got the first goal when sensational winger Arif Aiman Mohd Hanapi took on a pass from Argentinian striker Fernando Martin Forestieri, before unleashing a right-footed shot to beat experienced goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat in the 20th minute.
JDT’s relentless attacks against the Sang Badak paid off once again when Spanish import Juan Muniz Gallego doubled the lead with a beautiful left-footed volley from outside the penalty box, six minutes before the end of the first half.
Although Sabah came out much better in the second half, Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s men could still not get through JDT’s defence led by captain Jordi Amat.
It proved costly for the visitors as JDT roared back in the final 10 minutes through Muhammad Syahmi Safari’s right-footed strike (81st minute) followed by Forestieri's goal in the 89th minute to notch up their sixth league win in a row in style while handing Sabah their first defeat of the season.
Meanwhile, the Klang Valley derby at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium in Cheras saw Selangor FC come back from behind to beat Kuala Lumpur (KL) City FC 3-1.
KL City, who were looking for the first win of the season, opened the scoring with a solid strike from outside the penalty box by Ivory Coast import Kipre Tchetche in the 24th minute, but Selangor took advantage of spot-kicks taken by Colombian import Ayron Del Valle Rodriguez and Mohamad Faisal Abdul Halim in the 32nd and 41st minutes respectively, to take the lead.
Rodriguez got his brace in the 54th minute to seal the win as well as secure bragging rights over their rivals.
Terengganu FC, meanwhile, beat Kelantan United FC 2-1 at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Nerus.
Naturalised player Liridon Krasniqi put the hosts in front with a close-range shot in the sixth minute and Ghanaian import Jordan Mintah scored TFC's second in the 28th minute, while Filipino midfielder Jose Porteria pulled one back for the visitors in the 76th minute.
At the City Stadium in Penang, Penang FC recorded their first win of the season by defeating Perak FC 3-1.
Lebanese import Soony Saad put the home side ahead in the sixth minute while Nik Akif Syahiran Nik Mat contributed the team's second goal in the 37th minute.
South Korean import Seo Seon-ung closed the gap for the visitors in the 71st minute before Brazilian striker Giovane Gomes’ goal sealed the game for Penang in the 83rd minute. -Bernama