Hattricks for Lucero, JDT
HATTRICK hero Juan Martin Lucero helped Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) demolish T-Team on Saturday, as they lifted their third successive Malaysia Super League (MSL) trophy while 2015 title rivals Pahang defeated Penang to climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since July.
A priceless strike from Australianborn skipper Matthew Davies provided Pahang with a 1-0 victory, a result that saw Razip Ismail’s charges push the islanders into the two relegation spots with just one match remaining.
At the top of the standings, 2016 winners JDT trounced T-Team 5-1 before the trophy presentation ceremony at Larkin Stadium. Lucero was the toast of the night after Amirul Hadi Zaina’s opener after six minutes.
Lucero struck twice in the first half, before putting the icing on the cake with another goal on the hour mark to complete his hattrick.
An Abdoulaye Maiga own-goal added to T-Team’s misery, who could only muster a consolation effort through Patrick Cruz.
JDT’s latest rampage also puts them within 90 minutes of creating history as the only side to go an entire MSL season unbeaten.
Terengganu took over Pahang’s bottom place slot after turning in another dismal performance at home, succumbing 3-0 to Kedah with goals coming from Thiago Augusto and Shane Smeltz.
The defeat leaves them with a do-ordie relegation showdown against Penang on the final day of the season.
The Southern Tigers will be full of confidence going into their final game against Selangor after the Red Giants slumped to their seventh defeat of the season with a 1-0 loss to Perak.
Ugo Ukah’s 48th minute own goal at Shah Alam Stadium also means Selangor dropped to fifth in the standings, behind Kelantan who beat PDRM 2-1 on Friday.
At Tun Abdul Razak Stadium, Lutfulla Turaev popped up with an injury-time equaliser to earn second-placed Felda United a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Sarawak.
Tommy Mawat, Nur Shamie Iszuan and Gilmar gave the Crocs a 3-1 halftime lead but Zah Rahan Krangar added to Gilberto Alemao’s first-half effort before Turaev popped up with the last-gasp goal.
The MSL will take a month-long international break before the final league fixtures take place on Oct 21.