SHAH ALAM – The Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) football team have ended the 26-year wait to be crowned Malaysia Cup champions after a 2-0 win over defending champions Kedah in the final at the Shah Alam Stadium here, last night.
The victory saw JDT successfully completing their trophy collection within four years, after winning the Super League, FA Cup and Sumbangsih Cup since Tunku Mahkota Johor (TMJ) Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim helmed the club in 2013.
In front of over 80,000 supporters, coach Ulisses Morais’s side went on the pitch without prolific striker Mohamad Ghaddar who started on the bench, however, it only took them three minutes to take the lead through Mohamad Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak’s header off of a corner by team captain Mohammad Safiq Rahim.
Stung by the goal, Kedah launched attack after attack but the competition’s top scorer, Sandro Da Silva failed to finish for the Red Eagles.
JDT almost doubled the lead in the 15th minute after Kedah failed to clear the ball from the penalty area, however, Ignacio Insa’s shot went just pass the post.
The Southern Tigers went close to making it 2-0 through striker Gabriel Miguel Guerra in the 22nd minute, but Kedah goalkeeper Mohd Ifwat Akmal Che Kassim’s quick reflexes put the ball out to keep the score 1-0 till the break.
In the second-half, Mohd Nidzam Adzha Yusoff’s men came out fierce to defend the cup they won last year.
Kedah midfielder Baddrol Bakhtiar missed a golden opportunity to equalise when his uncontrolled header was tipped by goalkeeper Mohd Izham Tarmizi Roslan before striking off the post in the 56th minute.
Baddrol once again squandered a chance in the 67th minute, when his shot in the penalty box merely hit the woodwork.
JDT’s second goal came in the 63rd minute, after Ahmad Hazwan Bakri’s cross from the left was slotted in by Gonzalo Gabriel Cabrera to seal the victory for JDT.
For the record, the Malaysia Cup is JDT’s second domestic championship trophy this season, after winning the Super League recently.