Mohammed Ghaddar scores winner as JDT come back against Perak
A second-half comeback put Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) only one win away from a fourth consecutive Malaysia Super League (MSL) title after goals from Mohammed Ghaddar and Fadhli Shas saw them defeat Perak 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Ulisses Morais' men will, however, have to put the title celebrations on hold for another week as Kedah kept alive their mathematical chances with a 5-0 home win against Kelantan.
At Larkin Stadium, JDT camped out in the Perak half from the start, bossing the lions' share of possession in search of a 14th league victory.
It didn't take long before they looked likely to score, with Spanish-born Natxo Insa producing a rising effort in the ninth minute.
The naturalised playmaker was involved again a minute later, laying off for Gabriel Guerra who drove a shot inches past Hafizul Hakim's far post.
Hafizul almost gifted JDT the opening goal soon after, spilling Gabriel Guerra's shot.
Thiago Junior came to his defence and gave his goalkeeper an earful for the mistake.
But Hafizul redeemed himself midway through the first half with a low smart save to deny Ghaddar, with JDT in complete control.
Their dominance however, meant little, as Perak took a shock lead in first-half stoppage time through Hafiz Kamal's gem of a free kick.
The midfielder curled a sublime effort into the top corner, leaving Izham Tarmizi rooted and JDT trailing going into the break.
But JDT didn't need long to draw level after the restart, thanks to Hafizul's culpability.
The custodian again spilled a corner, and Fadhli had the easiest of task to ram home from close range in the 47th minute.
The Southern Tigers surged into the lead on the hour mark through Ghaddar. The Lebanese forward profited after Guerra's shot had been smothered by Hafizul.
It was Ghaddar's 23rd goal of the season, and this one stood, despite a huge hint of offside that was protested by the Perak players.
Mehmet Durakovic made a triple change in the final seven minutes in the hope of salvaging an equaliser, but JDT were able to see out the game to stand on the brink of another league title.
In other matches, Felda United ended the good run of Selangor with a 3-1 win in Jengka, while Penang stunned Pahang 2-0 at home to keep alive hopes of avoiding relegation.
Melaka United edged Sarawak 4-2, while PKNS FC saw off T-Team 2-1 at Shah Alam.
JDT: Izham Tarmizi (GK), Marcos Antonio (Aidil Zafuan 80'), Safiq Rahim (C), Gabriel Guerra, Gonzalo Cabrera, S.Kunanlan,Fazly Mazlan, Mohammed Ghaddar (Amirulhadi Zainal 74'), Natxo Insa, Fadhli Shas, Afiq Fazail
Perak: Hafizul Hakim (GK), Nasir Basharuddin, Shahrom Kalam (C), Yashir Pinto (Abdul Hadi Yahya 82'), Nazirul Naim, Amirul Azhan, Leandro Dos Santos, Thiago Junior, Hafiz Kamal (Kenny Palraj 82'), Gilmar Jose (Zaquan Adha 83'), Shahrul Saad
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.