KUALA Muda NAZA emerged Premier League champions after edging main rivals KL Plus 3-2 at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium yesterday.
Only a point separated the two with Kuala Muda NAZA leading the league with 58 points while KL Plus had 57 points before last night’s match.
Both teams gained promotion to the Super League next season while the two bottom-placed teams, Kuala Lumpur and Armed Forces, were relegated to the FAM League.
Despite the win, it was not a joyous occasion for Kuala Muda NAZA as the team’s founder, Tan Sri SM Nasimuddin SM Amin, also the founder and chairman of the Naza Group of Companies conglomerate, died of lung cancer while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Long Beach, California on Thursday.
Kuala Muda NAZA opened scoring in the 31st minute when Rudie Ramli easily tapped in a rebound which was out ofKL Plus keeper Amini Ahmad Tabrani’s reach.
KL Plus, who desperately needed to win to take the title, managed to even the score in the very next minute when Mohd Lot Abu Hassan’s powerful shot from outside the box sailed into their opponent’s net.
Former national striker Faderin Kadir put Kuala Muda NAZA ahead again in the 66th minute before Liew Kit Kong put them within sight of the championship in the 73rd minute.
KL Plus only managed to reduce the deficit through Rusydee Shamsuddin in the final minute of regulation play and by then it was all about over for them.
The win by Kuala Muda NAZA makes it a double for Kedah so far this year.
The state team won the Super League last month, their second Super League win in a row.
In other matches, Selangor PKNS edged Kelantan 2-1 at the Petaling Jaya Stadium while at the Selayang Stadium, Felda United and Johor Pasir Gudang played to a goalless draw.
At the Hang Tuah Stadium in Malacca. Malacca edged Kuala Lumpur 1-0 and at the Darulmakmur Stadium in Kuantan, Proton FC also defeated Shahzan Muda 1-0 by a similar margin.
At the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah demolished a hapless Armed Forces 5-0.