JOHOR BAHARU – Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) started their AFC Cup campaign on a high note, defeating Indian side East Bengal 4-1 at the Tan Sri Hassan Yunos Stadium in Larkin here last day.
Although without their foreign imports Jorge Pereira Diaz and Luciano Figueroa, who were benched, JDT showed they meant business and scored as early as the 9th minute when Mohd Nazrin Mohd Nawi floated home a free kick from outside the box.
The squad coached by Bojan Hodak had more chances after that but were miffed by S.Chanturu, Safee Sali and Mohamad Fadhli Shas.
Instead, East Bengal found the equaliser through Soleye Ranti Martins in the 34th minute.
Four minutes later the Southern Tigers were awarded a penalty by Thai referee Sivakorn Pu-Udom when East Bengal defender Milan Susak handled the ball in the penalty area.
Safiq Rahim had no problems firing the shot past East Bengal keeper Mondal Abhijit.
In the second half, Chanturu and Safee were on target in the 47th and 53rd minutes respectively.
Chanturu slotted home a pass from Mohamad Fadhli Shas while Safee scored via a scissors kick from an assist by Mohd Nazrin.
JDT, who are in Group F, will next play Balestier Khalsa of Singapore on Marc 10 and Kitchee of Hong Kong on March 18, both away. – Bernama