Southeast Asia Malaysia

Dominique Double Signals The Return of “Bola Sepak”

Matchweek 5 of the 2020 Liga Super Malaysia may still be a few days away (August 28th) but Malaysian football has began to take baby steps towards resumption as both Petaling Jaya City and Terengganu FC contested the first Liga Super match to be played after the COVID-19 suspension on Saturday night. The Matchweek 4 game, postponed due to both PJ City’s inability to prepare a venue on time as well as the COVID-19 suspension, was won by Terengganu 2-0, with Mauritanian striker Dominique da Sylva scoring a brace for the Turtles.

Malaysian football had been virtually frozen from March due to the COVID-10 pandemic, with various measures being implemented to ensure that the 2020 season would finish on time at the end of the year. This include the compression of both the Liga Super (top flight) and Liga Premier (second tier), that saw the two leagues playing out the first half of the season only, the cancellation of both the 2020 Liga M3 (third tier) and the 2020 Malaysian FA Cup, and the 2020 Malaysian Cup being used as qualification to the 2021 AFC Cup, a role usually played out by the Malaysian FA Cup. Relegation is also scrapped from the Liga Premier following the abandonment of the Liga M3 for the 2020 season, but promotion and relegation between the Liga Super and the Liga Premier still applies.

On June, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have announced that Malaysian football will restart on mid-August, with teams playing behind closed doors. While Matchweek 5 will take place on August 28th, the first official football matches to be played in Malaysia after the announcement were the postponed Matchweek 4 ties between PJ City and Terengganu in the Liga Super as well as UKM FC hosting Kelantan FA in the Liga Premier, both being played out on Saturday.

University side UKM succumbed to a 5-1 defeat at the hands of cash-strapped Kelantan in the early kick-off, however, attention soon shifted to the Petaling Jaya Stadium where, after a venue debacle that saw PJ City failing to prepare the stadium on time for Terengganu’s visit and being fined RM30,000 for it, the long-awaited clash between the hosts and Terengganu finally took place.

Former Ho Chi Minh City FC and Sai Gon FC man Dominique fired Terengganu into the lead in the 31st minute, before adding another one in the 73rd minute to end any hopes of a PJ City comeback. The Mauritanian cemented himself on top of the Liga Super’s top scorers list this season, with his brace adding to the quad-trick that he had scored away at Kedah FA on Matchweek 2 back in early March, prior to the suspension of Malaysian football.

The three points ensured that Terengganu moved up to third on the table with seven points, only three points behind league leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim. PJ City, meanwhile, remained on 10th place with four points to their name.

Matchweek 5 will see Terengganu hosting Sabah FA on August 29th, while PJ City travel to Selangor FA in a Selangor Derby on the same date.