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Shahrel and Ferns’ clubs remain in Thai League 1 next season – football news

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

The 2018 Thai League 1 ended on Sunday, with the two clubs with Malaysian players on their rosters surviving the cut.

Coincidentally, although Shahrel Fikri Fauzi’s Nakhon Ratchasima FC and Curran Ferns’ Sukhothai FC did not play each other on Sunday, Shahrel and his team were involved indirectly in helping Sukhothai avoiding relegation.

With the league reducing its number of teams from 18 to 16 beginning next season, it had been decided that five teams would be relegated from Thailand’s top tier at the end of 2018. 

Sukhothai had been unable to keep a safe distance between themselves and the relegation zone throughout the season, and headed into the final matchday only one point from and one spot above oblivion.

Bangkok Glass FC, two points ahead of them, meanwhile hosted Nakhon Ratchasima at the Leo Stadium, a match that ended in a 2-1 win to Shahrel’s side, with the forward coming on as a 63rd minute substitution in the encounter. Coincidentally, the Rabbits had signed Malaysia international Kiko Insa earlier in the year, before parting ways with him halfway through the season.

The Fire Bats, playing at home against Air Force Central whose bottom-place finish had been confirmed earlier, huffed and puffed against the military side, but in the end did enough to eke out a 3-2 win, and leapfrog Bangkok Glass in the standings. Ferns came on as a late substitution in the clash, in the 86th minute.

Sukhothai vs Air Force Central match highlights

Nakhon Ratchasima ended the 2018 season in seventh place, their highest ever finish in the Thai football pyramid, while Sukhothai finished in 11th place.

Bangkok Glass meanwhile ended up in the relegation zone, in 14th place. They are level on 42 points with Chainat Hornbill in 13th, but lose out on head-to-head records, and will be relegated from the top tier for the first time in their history.

It is perhaps too early to predict Shahrel and Ferns future at their respective clubs, but judging by how the former had excelled for Malaysia in their recent 3-1 friendly win over Cambodia, it is hoped that both of them get a contract extension in 2019, on top of paving the way for more Malaysian footballers to earn a move up north.


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Malaysia Cup round-up: Quarter-finalists confirmed save for stubborn Group C – football news

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

The penultimate round of the 2018 Malaysia Cup group stage was played over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and six teams have booked their places in the knockout stage.

Group A

Perak will follow Terengganu FC into the next stage, when the former beat the latter 2-1 in Kuala Terengganu. Gilmar da Silva opened the scoring for the visitors in the 21st minute, and the hosts were made to wait until the 65th minute for the equaliser, an Ashari Samsudin half-volley from inside the box. But Gilmar found the winner three minutes from time, to take the Bos Gaurus through to the quarter-finals.

Terengganu-Perak match highlights

Despite a 4-3 away win over Kuala Lumpur, Felcra FC‘s chances of qualifying have evaporated. The Rivals goals were scored by Aziz Rahim (20′, 43′ p.), Nazrul Kamaruzaman (68′) and David Laly (83′), while the hosts’ goals came from Gilherme de Paula’s goals (60′, 82′ p.), and Zainudin Abidin’s 74th minute own goal.

KL-Felcra match highlights

Standings: Terengganu (10) Perak (10) Felcra (5) Kuala Lumpur (3)

Group B

Felda United booked their knockout stage slot with a 2-0 win over PDRM at home. Their goals were scored by Thiago Fernandes in the 66th minute, and Gilberto Fortunato in injury time.

Felda-PDRM match highlights

PKNS FC advanced at the expense of Melaka United, after defeating the Mousedeers 2-1 in Shah Alam. Romel Morales opened the scoring for the hosts in the 23rd minute, before in-form Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim equalised in the 54th minute. Rafael Ramazotti netted the winner in the 66th minute, heading in a corner kick.

PKNS-Melaka match highlights

Standings: Felda (10) PKNS (10) Melaka (6) PDRM (1)

Group C

Group C remains the only group without a confirmed quarter-finalists, and even its last-placed team still keeps a mathematical chance of reaching the knockout stage. Group leaders MISC-MIFA, playing without their suspended foreign stars L’Imam Seydi and Kpah Sherman, were held to a goalless draw against Kelantan in Kota Bharu.

Kelantan-MIFA match highlights

Kedah meanwhile continued their resurgence, by defeating defending champions JDT 3-1 at home. The hosts needed only six minutes to open the scoring, thanks to Sandro da Silva’s goal, but Fernando Marquez equalised for the visitors thirty minutes later. A defensive mix-up in the JDT defence then allowed Akhyar Rashid to give the Red Eagles the lead again two minutes into the second half. JDT centre back Marcos Antonio was sent off for a second booking one minute before the end, and Liridon Krasniqi sealed the win with a wonderful curling goal deep in injury time.

Kedah-JDT match highlights

Standings: MIFA (8) Kedah (8), JDT (6) Kelantan (5)

Group D

Needing a win to confirm their quarter-final slot, Pahang instead lost 3-1 at home to ten-man Selangor, who were already unable to advance. A defensive error allowed Rufino Segovia to open the scoring for the visitors in the seventh minute, but they were down to ten men in 28th minute after defender Ashmawi Yakin was shown a straight red for a desperate foul on Mohamadou Sumareh right outside the penalty area. The ensuing free kick was brilliantly put away by Safuwan Baharudin. But another defensive mix-up allowed the Red Giants to go in front again, this time through Willian Pacheco’s 48th minute goal. Deep in injury time, Pahang’s misery was compounded when Sarkunan Krishnansamy pounced on a rebound to score their third goal of the night.

Pahang-Selangor match highlights

Luckily for the Elephants, the result of the other match in the group favoured them. Underdogs Sabah, whose qualification was secured by Pahang’s defeat, returned the favour by edging PKNP FC 2-0 at the Pulau Pinang State Stadium. Goals by Rodoljub Paunovic (31′) and Hector Ramos (81′) secured the Rhinos’ knockout stage slot and also top spot in the group.

PKNP-Sabah match highlights

Standings: Sabah (13) Pahang (8) PKNP (4) Selangor (3)


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Lionel Messi (151) has become the first player to reach 150 assists in La Liga in the 21st century 😯 He has now scored against 37 of the 40 teams he has faced in his La Liga career (387 goals), the most ever of any player in the competition!

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