Terengganu FC have set themselves as one of the early pace-setters of the 2021 Liga Super Malaysia season after winning their third consecutive game on Sunday. Taking on Perak FC away at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh for their Matchweek 3 game, the Turtles worked out a routine 2-0 win to assume joint-leadership of the Liga Super table.
Perak goalkeeper Hafizul Hakim had warned his teammates about the dangerous potency that Nafuzi Zain’s young Terengganu side has on the day before the match and the 27-year old goalie’s words rang true on Sunday as the Turtles ran the Bos Gaurus ragged at their own backyard. Terengganu had won only once in their past four encounters with Perak, drawing another and losing twice, however despite drafting a number of players from their reserve side Terengganu II in the second-tier Liga Premier, the Turtles threw the form book out of the window and marked up a confident performance that helped maintain their 100% record in the league.
New signing Faisal Halim opened the scoring in the 24th minute with his first goal for Terengganu. Former Kaya FC-Iloilo striker Jordan Mintah, drafted into the first team from Terengganu II for the occasion, had smacked the crossbar with his initial effort, however former Sri Pahang FC man Halim was there to seize the rebound, smashing home a powerful shot that went past Hakim and into the Perak goal.
Terengganu then had to wait until the closing stages of the game to confirm their win and it was another Terengganu II draftee that brought up the goods. Whilst Jordan’s effort contributed to the buildup towards the Turtles’ first goal of the night, the second goal that killed off the game was scored by another foreigner who was brought into the first team by Nafuzi from the reserves, Dechi N’Guessan.
Once again Jordan had a role in this goal, playing a low cross from the corner towards Dechi in the first minute of injury time. The Ivorian, who joined the Terengganu set-up from UiTM FC in 2019, launched an audacious chip from the edge of Perak’s penalty area that went past Hakim’s outstretched hand and into the top right corner, sealing the three points for the away side.
The 2-0 win meant that Terengganu are one of only the two sides who have won all three of their first three Liga Super games of the 2021 season. The Turtles are joint-leaders of the league alongside defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim, however JDT have a superior goal difference, which meant that the Southern Tigers were entitled to 1st place in the league table with Terengganu just behind them on 2nd.
Fellow unbeaten side Petaling Jaya City, who won once and drew twice in their three league games so far, rounded-off the top three.