MELAKA – Melaka United (MU) succeeded in seizing back the Premier League lead after burying Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) 3-1 at the Hang Jebat Stadium, Krubong here, Saturday night.
MU, who prior to this were in fourth place, grabbed the top position with 27 points after tonight’s match, surpassing Negeri Sembilan in second place with 25 points from 12 matches.
Ilija Spasojevic proved he was a striker to be feared when he scored a hattrick while MU’s two wingers, Jasmir Menhat and R. Surendran, often turned the opponent’s defence topsy turvy with fast runs on the flanks.
The MU players, coached by Mohd Zan Mat Aris, started scoring from the ninth minute with a powerful drive by Spasojevic in the penalty box from a Surendran pass.
Spasojevic, who is also MU captain, scored the Sang Kancil squad’s second goal by finishing a low cross from Jasmir in the 18th minute.
The combination of Spasojevic and Jasmir once again breached ATM goalkeeper Mohamad Hafizuddin Azuhar’s defence for MU’s third goal in the 23rd minute from a cut back pass by Jasmir.
MU slowed the rhythm in the second half, but ATM continued their assault and scored in the 58th minute via Venice Elphi Danny Kaya from a cross by Mohammad Azim Faris Shari.
ATM, coached by Mohd Azuan Mohd Zain, continued their barrage but failed to score any more goals before the final whistle was blown by referee Khairulazuan Kidam.
The match was attended by Melaka Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron and 8,000 spectators.