PJ Rangers demolished the Wanderers on their home turf with a masterful performance at the Temerloh Stadium last night.
Hassan Waras’ boy looked dangerous in every foray upfront and the deadly combination of Raslam Khan and Thamil Arasu as twin striking terrors fed by the rampaging Tommy Mawat on the wing laid waste to the hosts’ defence.
Raslam scored his first hattrick for PJ Rangers – indeed it was the first every hattrick in the history of AirAsia Allstars/PJ Rangers in the FAM Cup.
For Raslam, it completed a hattrick of hattricks, having accomplished the feat twice during his time with UITM FC previously.
In near perfect weather and pitch conditions, the Rangers had to wait till the 11th minute for Tommy to open the scoring.
Latching on to a brilliant through ball from Azalinullah Alias, the Sarawak born midfielder raced past two defenders before unleashing a thunderous shot from just inside the box. The ball took a wicked deflection off a Wanderers defender and looped into goal over Izzudin Muhamat in goal.
Tommy turned provider in the 33rd minute, outpacing his marker on the left, he fired a low cross into the box. With his back to goal, the stocky Thamil held off a defender before setting up Raslam who slotted home with a low powerful drive.
Raslam bagged his second when he stepped up and delivered a curling freekick into goal from 25 meters out just before halftime.
The hosts made a couple of substitutions upon restart, replacing midfielders Tam Sheang Tsung and Abdul Hadi with the more attack minded Fadirul Jaafar and Aniq Na’im but it was the Rangers who found the net again.
On another one of his mesmerising runs, Tommy drew a desperate challenge from a defender resulting in referee Zulkifli Ahmad pointing to the spot in the 54th minute.
Amazingly, despite having two goals under his belt, Raslam gave up the opportunity to complete his hattrick with a penalty when he stepped aside and allowed his best mate Thamil to convert.
Despite the Rangers dominance, the Wanderers were not without their chances and pulled one back five minutes later when Wan Mohamad Alif slotted past the unsighted Farhan Abu Bakar during a melee in the box.
With the injured Thamil having limped of the field, the Rangers were forced to wait till the 79th minute to extend their lead.
Again it was Tommy playing provider, threading a through ball for Raslam to latch on to and complete his hattrick.
Such was their dominance that the Rangers could even afford to spurn a golden opportunity in the dying minutes when Raslam unselfishly dummied in the box for Fahrul Razi who blazed over despite an empty goal.
Coach Hassan was delighted with the classy win and said the focus would now be on keeping the momentum.
“This is what this team is capable of delivering. We just need to play to our strengths and not be complacent.”