Malaysia Cup: Hat-trick hero Leandro steers Perak into quarter-finals
KUALA LUMPUR,. Brazilian Leandro Dos Santos notched a hat-trick to inspire Perak to a 4-0 first-round win over Malaysia Cup debutants Kelantan United at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh tonight – and a place in the quarter-finals.
The Brazilian put coach Mehmet Durakovic’s men ahead as early as in the seventh minute when he nodded home a corner kick taken by Muhammad Firdaus Saiyadi.
The 34-year-old then made sure of a man-of-the-match performance when he found the net in the 21st and 48th minutes to complete his hat-trick for eight-time champions Perak, who last lifted the prestigious Cup in 2018.
His compatriot, Raianderson da Costa Morais, completed the rout when he beat two Kelantan United defenders before slotting home Perak’s fourth goal in injury time (90+1).
This year’s Malaysia Cup competition is being played in a knockout format due to time constraints following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Perak will now meet Terengganu in the quarter-finals after the Turtles edged Petaling Jaya (PJ) City FC 1-0 at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Hotel in Kuala Terengganu tonight.
Sanjar Shaakhmedov of Uzbekistan was the hero for Terengganu when he scored the only goal of the match in the 37th minute following an error by defender Kim Bong Jin.
The match was earlier delayed for almost 30 minutes when referee Mohd Amirul Izwan Yaccob felt that the white lines on the field were not clearly visible.
Two more first-round matches will be played tomorrow, with 33-time champions Selangor taking on Melaka at the Hang Jebat Stadium and UiTM FC squaring off with Kelantan.
The Malaysian Football League (MFL), meanwhile, have yet to decide on the fate of Asia’s oldest football competition now that the government has announced the implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in all states in the Peninsula, except for Perlis, Kelantan and Pahang, from Nov 9 to Dec 6.
The MFL had earlier scheduled the first round of the Malaysia Cup for Nov 6-8, followed by the quarter-finals (Nov 12-13), semi-finals (Nov 17) and final (Nov 22).