Champions JDT suffer first MSL defeat of the season at Perak
Perak condemned Johor Darul Ta'zim to their first Malaysia Super League defeat of the 2017 season as Yashir Pinto and Vladislav Mirchev struck to give the silver state a 2-1 triumph on Saturday night.
The defeat left JDT in eighth spot on the 2017 MSL table, although the 2015 AFC Cup winners do have a game in hand.
Other results saw Baddrol Bakhtiar convert a late penalty as Kedah edged Kelantan 1-0 to stay top of the MSL, while Pahang compounded the misery of winless Penang with a 6-1 thrashing at Darul Makmur Stadium.
In Ipoh, Perak were playing in front of their own supporters after completing a ban of two matches behind closed doors from Football Association of Malaysia for crowd troubles in 2016.
Roused by the support of 22,000 fans at Perak Stadium, the home side started with intent, and went ahead after seven minutes through Pinto. The Palestine forward was played in by delicious dink from strike partner Mirchev, and slotted home past the onrushing Farizal Marlias.
But JDT drew level just two minutes later, courtesy of Ahmad Hazwan Bakri's debut goal. The ex-Selangor favourite had Gabriel Guerra to thank for unselfishly squaring for him from close range, leaving the national striker with the simplest task of steering home.
2017 MALAYSIA SUPER LEAGUE | 18TH FEBRUARY 2017- JOHORSouthernTigers (@OfficialJohor) February 18, 2017
Starting Lineup pic.twitter.com/B76fF2eXrt
Perak regained control of the game and should have scored just before the first half ended, but Pinto agonisingly saw his effort come off the foot of the post.
Karl Heinz-Weigang's men returned after the interval looking more fired up to take the game to the reigning champions, who were increasingly being overrun in midfield.
Shahrul Saad came close to restoring Perak's lead with a free kick that Farizal did well to palm away, before Zaquan Adha mistimed his header from a great position in the next move.
JDT continued to commit fouls near their danger zone, and were punished after 74 minutes.
Thiago Junior drew another good save from Farizal with a free kick from 30 yards out, before recovering quickly to save from Pinto, who tried to convert the rebound.
But as the static JDT backline stood watching, the ball fell kindly to the Mirchev, who slid home to put Perak back in front.
JDT tried their best to draw level with time against them, and could have equalised in injury time. Substitute Mahali Jasuli, however, fluffed his lines from a good position to leave the Southern Tigers licking their wounds
In other results, T-Team and PKNS drew 2-2 while Melaka United secured a 1-0 victory at Sarawak. Selangor beat Felda United 3-1 on Friday night.
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.