Mohammed Ghaddar helps JDT beat Penang to go nine points clear

Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) opened up a nine-point lead at the top of the Malaysia Super League (MSL) after their two closest rivals Pahang and Kedah dropped points, as the domestic season resumed on Saturday night.

At Larkin Stadium, the Southern Tigers cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win over Penang after goals from Mohammed Ghaddar and Gonzalo Cabrera.

It meant a first-up victory for JDT's new Portuguese coach, Ulisses Morais, who took over from Ben Mora during the mid-season break.

Pahang lost 2-1 away to Felda United while Kedah fell 3-2 at home to Perak.

At Darul Aman Stadium, Kedah dominated possession early on, with a fast-passing tempo that left Perak players chasing shadows.

But the home side were almost shocked in the 11th minute after a momentary lapse in defence.

New Perak signing Gilmar Jose was put through on goal, but lost his composure and the danger seemed to have been averted.

But Kedah failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to Nazrin Nawi. The speedy winger saw his effort sail just wide past an empty goal, with Ifwat Akmal stranded.

Syafiq Ahmad had an attempt deflected just wide a few minutes later, as Kedah looked to regain control of the match.

But, despite spraying the ball around with confidence, Kedah were susceptible at the back each time Perak poured forward.

Jose had a point blank header saved by Ifwat on the half-hour mark, but Perak took the lead in their next attack.

Nashir Basharuddin saw his shot deflected right across the Kedah goal. Syazwan Tajudin, in an attempt to hack the ball clear, slipped at the crucial stage, and saw the ball bounce off him into goal.

Kedah lost their captain Khairul Helmi to injury immediately after that, as Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik came on in his place.

Perak gained in confidence, and Nashir wasted a glit-edged opportunity by blazing wide after being put through on goal by Nazirul Naim.

The pouring rain at Darul Aman proved to be a good omen for Perak, who doubled their advantage two minutes into the second half.

It came from none other than Nashir, who did not let a third chance go begging this time.

The architect of the move was Yashir Pinto, who threaded a sublime through pass for the midfielder.

Left one-on-one with Ifwat, Nashir kept his composure to round the goalkeeper and stroke home into an empty net.

But Kedah pulled one back in the 58th minute through their Brazilian midfielder Sandro. He started and finished off a flowing move with a thumping downward header.

Any chance of comeback looked over after Gilmar Jose scored his debut goal for Perak to put them 3-1 up.

Again, it only took one ball over the top to undo the Kedah defence, and Gilmar easily rounded the onrushing Ifwat to finish home like Nashir.

Liridon gave Kedah a lifeline by heading home Fitri Omar's cross in the 85th minute for a chance to stage a comeback.

It almost paid off through Sandro, who saw his effort cleared off the line by Nazirul, but Perak hung on for victory.

Other matches saw Selangor thrash T-Team 4-2, while PKNS FC were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Melaka United.

Kedah: Ifwat Akmal (GK), Syawal Nordin, Liridon Krasniqi, Ken Ilso, Rizal Ghazali, Syazwan Zainon, Sandro Da Silva,Khairul Helmi (C) (Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik 32'), Akram Mahinan (Farhan Roslan 55'), Baddrol Bakhtiar, Ahmad Fakri Saarani, Syazwan Tajuddin, Syafiq Ahmad

Perak: Hafizul Hakim (GK), Nasir Basharuddin, Shahrom Kalam (C) (Shahrul Saad 66'), Yaser Pinto, Nazrin Nawi, Nazirul Naim, Amirul Azhan, Leandro Dos Santos, Thiago Junior, Hafiz Kamal, Gilmar Jose