JOHOR BAHRU, May 2 – National striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha was the toast for Sarawak United as the East Malaysian outfit regained their top place in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Johor Darul Takzim II at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka on Saturday.
It was his second goal for the team following his move from Thai club Pathum United. His first goal was in the 3-0 win over Perak 2 in March.
Popularly known as Mat Yo in the football fraternity, Norshahrul beat his marker on the turn after running into space to find the net for Sarawak’s sixth win in nine matches.
The three points off the Johor Darul Takzim feeder squad took the Golden Hornbills to the top of the league standings with 20 points from nine matches.
Head coach E. Elavarasan was more than pleased with the win as he had only one foreigner in the starting eleven – Australian defender Taylor Regan before South Korean midfielder Lee Chang-hoon came in the last 15 minutes.
Sarawak United was without their Nigerian hitman and top scorer Uche Agba who has returned home to attend the funeral of his later mother while Brazilian Sandro Mendonca is still nursing a knee injury.
”It is testing time for the team without some of the key players but we have shown character and discipline on the field. Credit to the players who have played their part well to keep the team at the top,” said Elavarasan.
The only hiccup for Sarawak United was a shock 2-0 defeat to lowly Police on April 16 following a spate of injuries to their key players.
However, the East Malaysian hopefuls have not lost a match since then.
Next destination for Sarawak United is Kota Bharu when they play Kelantan United on Friday (May 7).