Southeast Asia Malaysia

Leandro’s Hat-Trick Sends Perak to Malaysia Cup Quarterfinal

Liga Super Malaysia side Perak FA made short work of their 2020 Malaysia Cup first round match, dispatching Liga Premier Malaysia side Kelantan United 4-0 at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh on Saturday. Perak’s easy progression to the competition’s quarterfinal was achieved on the back of a hat-trick from Brazilian midfielder Leandro Dos Santos, who inspired Mehmet Durakovic’s men with his standout performance.

The Bos Gaurus rarely looked troubled when they took on the Green Deers, taking the lead after just 7 minutes. A Firdaus Saiyadi corner was headed into the Kelantan United goal by Leandro, allowing Perak to stamp their authority early into the game. Fourteen minutes later Leandro struck again, smashing home a ball from Shahrel Fikri into Syazwan Yusoff’s goal to make it 2-0 Perak.

8-time Malaysia Cup winners Perak then went 3-0 up in the 48th minute, with Leandro completing his hat-trick. The 34-year old midfield general received a low cross from Careca and slid home past Syazwan, effectively killing off any hopes of a Kelantan United comeback. Careca then went on to guarantee Perak’s qualification to the quarterfinal in the first minute of injury time, latching onto a lobbed through pass before snaking his way past two Kelantan United defenders and firing a shot from close range that left Syazwan well-beaten.

Perak’s opponents in the Malaysia Cup quarterfinal will be Terengganu FC, with the 2020 Liga Super bronze-medalists edging out fellow Liga Super side Petaling Jaya City 1-0 thanks to a 37th minute winner from the Turtles’ Uzbek midfielder Sanjar Shaakhmedov. Victory at their Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium on Saturday for Nafuzi Zain’s Terengganu meant that they will be hosting Perak in the next round – a repeat of the 2018 Malaysia Cup final which Perak won on penalties after an epic 3-3 draw.

Malaysia Cup action continues on Sunday with Selangor FA hosting Melaka United in an all-Liga Super clash at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Krubong, while Liga Super’s UiTM FC welcome Liga Premier side TRW Kelantan FC to the Manjung Stadium in Manjung.

Despite almost all of the Malaysia Cup quarterfinal slots being filled, this year’s competition was thrown into doubt after the Malaysian government issued COVID-19 enforced movement restriction orders for all Malaysian states with the exception of Perlis, Pahang, and Kelantan, following similar measures in both Sabah and the Klang Valley area (Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya), with the orders coming into effect next week. The mass movement restriction order could potentially put the Malaysia Cup quarterfinal ties into jeopardy, prompting the Malaysian football authorities to draft a statement regarding the competition’s continuation that will be issued on either Monday or Tuesday.