Tuesday, February 16, 2016


King Raja Top Of The Pile In Malaysia's Premier League

UiTM are one of those Malaysian sides that seem to operate below the radar. Nominally a university side based in Shah Alam but surely only the most optimistic of fans would suggest the odd game against Selangor would count as a local derby.

This season has seen Raja Isa take the reigns though you wouldn't know it by looking at the club website. There are times wikipedia is more current than 'official' media and this appears to be one of them.

They began their campaign with a 4-1 victory over Sabah with new signing Pavel Purishkin netting a hat trick on his debut and last night followed it up a narrow 1-0 victory away to Perlis with Purishkin making it four in his first two games for the Students. Perlis of course had mullered ATM 6-1 in their opening game with all the goals coming in a first half blitz.

As mentioned before, Raja Isa is one of four ex Persipura coaches to be working in Malaysia this season (Jacksen F Tiago, Rahmad Darmawan and Irfan Bhakti are the others) and he has also coached PSM, Persiram, PSMS and Persijap in Indonesia before, finally, taking over his first Malaysian side at the start of the current season. And now he is sitting pretty at the top of the table and unbeaten!

In other games Sabah made it two defeats from their opening two games as they lost 4-1 away to Kuantan with ex UiTM striker Dao Bakary scoring two.

Negeri Sembilan, coached by Aussie Gary Smith, picked up three points after they defeated DRB Hicom on Tanjung Malim and they did it the hard way, coming from 1-0 down to claim the three points with three goals in the last ten minutes. Ex Melbourne Victory striker Andrew Nabbout scored from the spot on 80 minutes before fellow Aussie Joel Chianese made it 2-1 four minutes later. There was still time for Englishman Alex Smith to make it 3-1 and finish off a remarkable recovery for the visitors.

Smith, by the way, maybe English but has spent his career playing overseas in places like USA, Canada, New Zealand and most latterly Australia.

Paolo Rangel playing for Johor Darul Tazim II? And odd one for sure but there he was last night getting subbed just shy of the hour mark as the sister club of the Super League champions lost 1-0 to Kuala Lumpur in Selayang. The side from the capital share top spot with UiTM but are second by dint of their goal difference. JDT II are one of four clubs, Sabah, ATM and PKNS without any points on the board.

In the remaining game 13,000 fans filled the Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka to see local heroes Melaka United overcome 2-1. Ex Persib striker Ilija Spasojevic failed to get on the score sheet and was yellow carded on 65 minutes.

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