An unforgettable brace from Faiz Subri fired Penang to an exhilarating 4-1 defeat of last season's title challengers Pahang on Tuesday evening and a first Malaysia Super League (MSL) win since 2010.
The spectacular strikes from the midfielder sandwiched another scorcher from Matias Cordoba as the newly promoted team ran their illustrious visitors ragged. New Nigerian striker Osas Saha rounded off a memorable evening for Jacksen Tiago's men with a late goal.
It was a perfect response to the 1-0 defeat on Saturday in the opening day clash at Terengganu while Pahang still await a first win of the new season.
Penang were two goals to the good inside 10 minutes. The 4-1 thrashing that Pahang suffered in the Malaysia Cup at the end of last season was still fresh in the memory and even more so after three minutes.
Faiz's left-foot would have raised the roof at the Bandaraya Stadium had it possessed one. The midfielder, collected a throw-in from the left, just inside the corner of the area, spun to lose his marker and then drilled an outswinging shot into the far corner in one swift, smooth move.
If that were the perfect start, the Panthers were in dreamland after nine minutes. Argentine playmaker Cordoba, making his competitive home debut, seemed to have lost control of the ball in a crowded part of the pitch just outside the 'D' but then swung a boot to curl an unstoppable shot into the top left corner of the net to give Nasril Nourdin no chance.
The hosts were relentless and the Pahang goalkeeper continued to be called into action. First, he had to palm away a powerful free-kick from Rafiuddin Rodin and soon after he made a great stop to deny the same player who had ended a counter-attack that started way back in the Penang penalty area.
Pahang did fire a warning shot across the bows of the newly promoted team midway through the first half. Anuar Kamsani came outside the left edge of the six yard box for a floated free-kick but failed to get there and had to watch as Nejc Potokar headed just wide.
That was about as good as it got. The second half soon settled into a much more settled affair and the pendulum swing even further in Penang's favour on the hour as Salomon Raj was sent off after a rash challenge of Brett Griffiths earned a second yellow.
- Fadhlan Abdul Aziz (@fadhlanaziz) February 16, 2016
Moments later came what will was the best goal of the game and will take some beating as the goal of the season. Faiz had a free-kick 35 yards out, on the left side of the pitch. Somehow the 28-year-old fired a dipping shot that swerved first to the left and the too the right to hit the inside of the far post and leave Nasril as stunned as the crowd, though a great deal less happy.
The three points were in the bag with the only issue to be settled being the number of goals Penang would score. The answer was one. With two minutes left, Fitri Omar fired over a cross from the left that was headed home emphatically by Osas Saha who had come off the bench to make his debut.
There was still time for Pahang to grab a scant consolation through Rizua Shafiqi.
A perfect evening then for the Panthers but another nightmare trip to the island for Pahang.