KUALA LUMPUR – Argentine import Gonzalo Cabrera struck a hat-trick as Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) thrashed Perak 7-0 to continue their relentless march towards a seventh successive Super League title at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium, Iskandar Puteri Sept 4.
JDT, who led 4-0 at half-time, went ahead after just 21 minutes through a long-range attempt by Mohd Afiq Fazali before Cabrera doubled their lead in the 35th minute.
In the 45th minute, referee Muhammad Nazmi Nasaruddin pointed to the spot after JDT’s Diogo Luis Santo was felled by Perak’s Muhammad Rafiuddin Roddin. Cabrera cooly slotted home to make it 3-0.
But JDT were not done yet as youngster Muhammad Ramadhan Saifullah Usman slotted home goal No 4 in the first-half injury time.
JDT came back after the break looking just as hungry for goals as Cabrera completed his hat-trick in the 63rd minute before Muhammad Safawi Rashid (78th minute) and Muhammad Akhyar Abdul Rashid (83rd minute) completed the rout for their fifth win in six matches.
The win sees the Southern Tigers top the 12-team Super League standings with 16 points (five wins and one draw).
Meanwhile, in another match at the Hang Jebat Stadium, Terengganu FC (TFC) stayed in second spot despite losing 1-0 to home team Melaka, whose solitary goal was scored by their Nigerian import Uche Agba in the 61st minute.
In Kota Kinabalu, Selangor moved up to fourth in the standings after a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Sabah 2-1 at the Likas Stadium.
The Red Giants can thank their Nigerian import, Ifedayo Olusegun, for the win as he struck in the 72nd and 81st minutes after substitute Rodoljub Paunivic had put homesters Sabah ahead in the 65th minute.
In the Premier League, Penang’s two imports — Brazilian Casagrande and South Korean Lee Changhoon — struck in the first-half to help the islanders beat Negeri Sembilan 2-0 at the City Stadium and climb to the top of the standings.
Casagrande opened the scoring in the sixth minute before Changhoon netted the second in the 22nd minute.
There was also joy for Kuala Lumpur as they grabbed three precious points after ousting Kelantan United FC 2-0 at the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium in Kota Bharu, thanks to a second-half brace from Brazilian Paulo Josue.
Meanwhile, home team Sarawak FC and UKM FC played out a goalless draw to share the points at the State Stadium in Petra Jaya.