MAYBANK head into the Chinese New Year break with just a one-point lead over Ikram Rovers in the Kuala Lumpur FA Premier Division as the title battle heats up ahead of the second half of the season.
Rovers, last season's overall Premier League Cup champions, cut into Maybank's lead with a slender 1-0 victory over Sime Darby Industrial at the Hospital ground on Thursday.
Maybank have 18 points from six wins in nine games with Rovers a point behind also from nine matches and another four teams behind them who all have games in hand over the leading two.
MBF Cards, RHB Bank, Pulapol and Pos Malaysia will be serious contenders if they can string a few victories together and throw the title challenge wide open.
No matches are scheduled this weekend although Pos will be among the first back into action on Wednesday when they take on National Sports Council in Bukit Jalil.
A win would like Pos into third place, at least until MBF Cards take to the field the following day when they face KL City at the Hospital ground before Maybank and RHB go head to head in an interesting tie in Bangi on Friday.
Meanwhile, promoted side Bank Rakyat lifted themselves off the foot of the table, where they were replaced by Public Service Commission, after beating Plus Expressway 3-1 on Wednesday.
Army posted back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they trounced KL City 4-0 to rise to mid-table having languished near the bottom for much of this campaign.
In Division One, Sime Darby Plantation and Kilat edged closer to playoff qualification after recording crucial wins in Group B.
Kilat trounced struggling Kuala Lumpur Hospital 3-1 away to maintain their perfect record after six matches but they still trail SD Plantation, who have played two games more, by a point after the leaders edged KL Air Base 1-0.
Royal Rangers Regiment Corps rose to the top of Group after whipping Pemuda Brickfields 5-0 although Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (JLJ) lurk a point behind having won all four of their matches.
Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia remain the only unbeaten side in Group B of Division Two after a 6-0 rout of Goldhill put them two points shy of leaders 4B Diamond, who have played a game more.
In Group B, Kesupen maintained their distance from the chasing pack as they held on to a four-point lead with a 3-0 win over Fathul Karin while Petaling Putera went on the rampage against Tasaja, winning 7-1 to move in the second place.