Upsets, giants conquered and surprise leaders in Round 1.
It was an opening day that belonged to the underdogs. As the Malaysia Cup throttled into life, many of the tournament favourites were treated to a dose of reality after dropping points on match day one.
We already know LionsXII, Selangor, defending champions Kelantan and Johor Darul Takzim failed to secure the victories expected of them at the expense of weaker opponents and it will be interesting to see how they all react to that.
But what else happened across Groups A to D during the first round of fixtures?
Sime Darby FC took full advantage of Selangor’s draw with Johor FA to emerge as surprise early leaders after outgunning ATM in a seven-goal thriller.
The Klang Valley club showed they meant serious business after racing into a 3-1 lead by the half-hour mark. Togo international Togaba Komlan Kontiwa put them in front after just three minutes only for an own goal from Mohd Fazrul Hazli Mohd Kadri to bring the Gladiators level 10 minutes later.
But the lead was quickly restored by Togaba before Che Hamid notched in the 31st minute to send Sime Darby into break in a commanding position. It got even better a minute after the restart when Fazrul Hazli Mohd Kadri scored fourth and they managed to hold on despite Irwan Fadzli and Venice Elphi threatning to spark a comeback from the Armed Forces.
Felda United’s season went from bad to worse after they were easily dispatched by T-Team at the Temerloh Mini Stadium.
Relegation from Malaysian Super League meant the Settlers entered the tournament on a low and their fortunes don’t look like changing any time soon after George Boateng struck just after the break to earn his side a narrow victory and, more importantly, three points to move second behind PKNS on goal difference.
Negeri Sembilan shook off their relegation to the Malaysian Premier League with a convincing 2-0 win over Terengganu and record an early upset in the proverbial ‘Group of Death’.
The Deers will relish sitting at the top of the tree at this early stage following Kelantan’s draw with Pahang and were indebted to a woeful performance from their opponents that allowed Fabio Barbosa and S.Sivanesan to score either side of the half-time whistle.
MPL champions Sarawak failed to carry their impressive league form over into the competition and were left to pick up the pieces of a surprise 2-1 loss to Perak.
Despite leading at the break following Joseph Kalang’s opener they received an almighty sucker punch from Seladang’s Brazilian sensation Paulo Rangel in the second half. Firstly the 28-year-old dragged his side level on the hour mark before conjuring a winner with 10 minutes left on the clock to cap a spirited turnaround.