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MALAYSIA will play their rescheduled 2019 Asian Cup qualifier against North Korea in Pyongyang on June 8 after a ruling by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Monday.

The game was originally scheduled for March 28 at the same venue in the Republic’s capital city before being postponed due to security concerns.

AFC was considering moving the match to a neutral venue, possibly in China, but the game will now go ahead at its original location.

“Following confirmation from the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) that no government travel restrictions are in place, the AFC has agreed that the Asian Cup 2019 qualifying round Group B match will now take place in Pyongyang, DPR Korea on June 8, 2017,” an AFC statement read.

AFC had given FAM until May 8 to confirm the diplomatic status between the nations following the death of Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13.

The need to travel to Pyongyang will add to the atmosphere of uncertainty after the appointment of the Crown Prince of Johor (TMJ) as the new FAM president in March.

Malaysia have yet to appoint a new head national coach to replace Datuk Ong Kim Swee, who was bumped down to take charge of the under-23 side after TMJ’s appointment. Former Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) coach Mario Gomez, the original choice, turned down the job due to financial reasons.

Former Kedah coach Tan Cheng Hoe, touted as a future assistant boss, could fill in as caretaker coach after leaving the 2016 Malaysia Cup champions last month.

FAM secretary general Datuk Hamidin Amin said last week said the national body is talking to two potential overseas candidates, including one from Portugal.

North Korea are 42 spots above Malaysia in the FIFA rankings at 116th in the world.

After their Group B opener in Pyongyang, Malaysia will return home to face Lebanon in their second Asian Cup qualifier at Larkin Stadium in the southern state of Johor on June 13. – ESPN FC

KUALA LUMPUR – Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) were flying high whereas Felda United were on the opposite end of the spectrum in the fifth round of the group stage in the AFC Cup competition tonight.

JDT, who were AFC Cup champions in 2015, notched a comfortable 3-0 win against Cambodian side Boeung Ket Angkor FC at the Cambodian National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh.

However, after tonight’s result, they still remain in second place in Group F, behind Global FC of the Philippines who also went home with three points tonight.

In tonight’s action, JDT dubbed the Southern Tigers went ahead as early as the 8th minute with

winger Mohd Safawi Rasid finding the net before midfielder Muhammad Nazmi Faiz Mansor fired home from outside the penalty box in the 26th minute to make it two up.

Their Argentinian import Gabriel Miguel Guerra ensured they went home with three valuable points with a solo finish in added time of the second half.

Global FC beat Myanmar side Magwe FC 4-2 at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon.

In Group G, despite playing on their own turf at the Tun Abdul Razak Stadium in Jengka, Pahang, Felda United lost 1-3 to Tampines Rovers of Singapore.

The visitors known as the ‘The Stags’ opened the scoring with Ivan Dzoni on the mark in the 29th minute before Norshahrul Idlan Talaha equalised for The Fighters in the 50th minute.

.Muhammad Khairul Amri Mohammad Kamal then netted himself a brace in the 68th and 71st minutes to give the visitors a handsome victory.

In another Group G match,group leaders Ceres Negros FC buried Hanoi FC 6-2 at the Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium in Bacolod City, Philippines.

JDT who have already booked their berth in the next round will be up against Magwe FC at the Tan Sri Hassan Yunos Stadium , Larkin while Felda United have to beat Hanoi FC at their opponents’ turf if they want to keep their hopes alive.

Both matches will be played on May 3.

— BERNAMA

MARAN – Felda United are determined to grab all three points when they play against Tampines Rovers in a Group G match of the AFC Cup tournament, here tomorrow.

Its head coach, B. Sathianathan said a home win would take the Fighters further in the tournament.

“We want all three points to improve our position,” he told a press conference at Tun Abdul Razak Stadium (STAR), Jengka, here today.

The coach said injury to five key players who could miss the match should not be used as an excuse not to provide stiff competition to the Singapore team.

“Our captain Shukor Adan, Syahid Zaidon, Mootaz Jounaidi, Stewart Wark and Wan Amirul Afiq are nursing injuries and may not take to the field. However, there is no reason for Felda United to not play well because we have quality players on the bench,” he added.

Meanwhile, Tampines Rovers head coach Jurgen Raab said a loss to Felda United would mean early exit from the AFC Cup tournament this season.

“We only have three points and are bottom of Group G. A win over Felda United will come as a big relief for us,” he added.

Felda United are second with five points after four matches while Tampines Rovers occupy the last position with three points. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Two Malaysian teams playing in the AFC Cup competition suffered contrasting fortunes in their opening group F and G matches respectively last night.

Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) the 2015 AFC Cup champion opened their campaign in convincing style by beating Beoungket Angkor FC from Cambodia 3-0 while Felda United lost 1-2 to Tampines Rovers FC from Singapore at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.

Argentine import Gabriel Guerra gave JDT a flying start at the Larkin Stadium against the Cambodian league title winners with a strike as early as the 2nd minute before coach Benjamin Mora’s boys added the second through Muhammad Nazmi Faiz Mansor in the 10th minute, finishing off a perfect cross from defender S. Kunanlan.

Watched by about 10,000 home fans, JDT put the match beyond doubt when skipper Safiq Rahim nodded home a cross from Gonzalo Cabrera Giordano in the 89th minute.

At the Jalan Besar Stadium, South Korean import Son Yong Chan gave Tampines Rovers the lead in the 64th minute while Singapore national striker Khairul Amri Mohammad Kamal made it 2-0 in the 83rd minute before Felda managed to reduce the deficit in the 86th minute through Fazrul Hazli Kadri.

In other matches played tonight, Global FC from the Philippines scored a slim 1-0 victory over Magwe from Myanmar while Vietnam’s Hanoi FC and Ceres Negros FC from the Philippines shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the My Dinh Stadium.

In the next AFC Cup fixtures, JDT head to Yangon for their match against Magwe FC while Felda United host Hanoi FC at the Selayang Stadium on March 7.

— BERNAMA

JOHOR BAHRU – AFC Cup defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and Indian club Bengaluru FC played to a 1-1 draw in their semi-finals first leg match here, Wednesday.

Despite playing before 18,410 home fans at the Tan Sri Hassan Yunos Stadium in Larkin, Mario Gomez’s squad clearly failed to show their true potential.

Right from the first half, the match was seen to be more dominated by the opponents who gave the Southern Tigers a scare as early as the 5th minute when Bengaluru defender John Johnson nearly put the visitors one up.

The first half saw the hosts more on the defensive but they turned things around in the second with Pereyra Diaz heading home a corner kick taken by Safiq Rahim in the 52nd minute.

But the jubilation was shortlived when Bengaluru mid-fielder Eugene Lyngdoh equalised in the 54th minute from outside the penalty box.

The second leg will be played at the Sree Kantareeva Stadium, Bangalore, India on Oct 19. – BERNAMA

 

JOHOR BAHARU – Defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) trounced Kaya FC 7-2 at the Tan Sri Hassan Yunos Stadium here tonight to book their place in the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup competition.

On target for the star-studded Southern Tigers coached by Mario Gomez were hattrick hero Juan Lucero (14th, 54th and 70Th) and Azammudin Mohd Akil (33th, 39th), Jorge Pereyra Diaz (22nd- penalty) and Mahali Jasuli (68th).

The Filipino side’s consolation goals were netted by Jose Elmer Porteria (53rd) and Antonio Ugarte (87th).

Though the pitch was slippery due to a downpour, JDT had little problems dominating the minnows.

The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar also joined some 17,000 fans in witnessing the match.

— BERNAMA

SEREMBAN – The Selangor team’s 2-0 win over AirAsia All-Star FC yesterday is seen as a shot in the arm for the team to compete in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.

Chief coach Zainal Abidin Hassan said the stiff match at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium, Paroi indicated that the team should further spruce up its tactics and avoid being lulled into apathy.

“We had several golden opportunities in the first half but they were not fully utilised. Definitely we want a win and the one tonight is a spirit booster to face the AFC Cup on Tuesday.

“Undeniably, AirAsia All-Star FC had given us a fantastic challenge,” he told reporters here, last night.

This coming Tuesday, Selangor would be facing a team from the Philippines, Ceres La Salle FC in Manila in the AFC Cup.

Commenting on injuries afflicting several Red Giant players prior to this, Zainal said they were not worried as the injured players had shown positive developments and could play in the AFC Cup.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Group Deputy Chief Executive Officer Datuk Kamarudin Meranum, who was also present at the match, said The Red Jets performed very well in the first half but lost their focus in the second half.

“The team played well and gave Selangor a stiff fight. Many expected us to lose badly but we were still capable of giving them a contest.

“We played very well in the first half to contain Selangor’s onslaught. Alas, we lost focus in the second half. Selangor’s second goal was the result of our own mistake,” he said.

Selangor’s two goals were scored by Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh in the 68th minute and Abdul Hadi Yahya, eight minutes later. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) Saturday created football history after they became the first Malaysian team to win the Asian Football Confederation Cup (AFC Cup).

The sole goal by Argentinian import Leandro Velazquez in the 22nd minute of the final against FC Istiklol of Tajikistan at the Republican Central Stadium in Dushanbe, Tajikistan was good enough for the Southern Tigers to lift the Cup.

The victory also erased their past disappointment when they were knocked out at the group stage when making their debut in the prestigious competition as Johor FC in 2009.

As champions, they will be bringing home the AFC Cup which was presented by Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Al-Haj of Johor himself. They also took home US$350,000 (RM1.502 million), the prize money for the champions, while FC Istiklol were richer by US$250,000 (RM1.072 million) as runners-up.

Even sweeter, JDT captain Safiq Rahim was named as the Most Valuable Player while FC Istiklol captain Vasiev Dilshod was declared Man-of-the-Match.

This is the third title to be won by JDT this season after the Charity Shield (Sultan Ahmad Shah Cup ) which they picked up after defeating Pahang 2-0 at the Tan Sri Hassan Yunos Stadium, Larkin on Jan 31 and the Super League 2015 trophy.

In today’s final, playing on artificial turf clearly gave the hosts an advantage which they used to control the early part of the game but poor finishing by their frontline let them down.

But luck seemed to favour JDT as it was they who went ahead in the 22nd minute via Velazquez’s goal, much to the delight of the 500-odd fans who made their way to Dushanbe to support the team.

The goal came from a corner kick taken by Safiq Rahim which was parried away by FC Istiklol keeper Nikola Stosic only to see Velazquez pounce on the rebound and fire home a piledriver with his left feet from outside the penalty box.

Shell-shocked, the FC Istiklol players regrouped and threw everything they had but JDT’s defence in the hands of Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak and Marcos Antonio proved impenetrable and the scoreline stood until the half-time whistle.

On resumption, the hosts wasted no time in going after JDT’s goalmouth and even saw Dzhalilov Manuchehr Jalilov finding the back of the net in the 51st minute but referee Minoru Tojo of Japan disallowed it because FC Istiklol captain Vasiev Dilshod was in an offside position.

Jalilov did the same in the dying minutes but Minoru again disallowed his second attempt because of the offside rule. The 1-0 scoreline stood till the final whistle.

– BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) has a better chance of making it to the semifinals of the 2015 AFC Cup compared with Pahang who are Malaysia’s other representative in the competition.

In the AFC Cup quarterfinal draw held yesterday, JDT were drawn against South China from Hongkong while Pahang will face an uphill task against FC Istiklol from Tajikistan.

In the quarterfinals, JDT face the Hong Kong outfit at the Larkin Stadium in Johor Baharu on Aug 25 while Pahang travel to Dushanbe, Tajikistan on the same day.

In the return leg scheduled on Sept 15, JDT face South China at the Mongkok Stadium in Hong Kong while Pahang host FC Istiklol at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan on Sept 16.

JDT honorary secretary Mohd Fahmy Yahya when met said both JDT and Pahang are in with a chance since it was a fair draw.

“Whoever we play or wherever we play, the JDT will give their best. We will perform our best because this is the first time JDT has made it to the AFC Cup quarterfinals and we need to show that our team can play, not only in Malaysia but globally,” he told reporters after the draw, here yesterday.

Meanwhile, South China head coach, Mior Casemiro said he knows that JDT are a strong team but was confident of his team’s capabilities.

“I’m very confident we can move to the next stage by qualifying for the semifinals. No matter where we play (home or away) it will be tough.

“JDT coach Mario Gomez…he knows so much about my team, South China…100 percent. But still we are confident we can play a good match in Malaysia and get a good result,” he said.

Pahang team manager Fahrizal Hasan admitted that facing the team from Tajikistan would be a tough assignment for his team.

“To have reached the quarterfinals is a historic achievement for us, so we are going to go all out to ensure a place in the semis,” he said. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Pahang qualifies for the second round (last 16) of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup tournament despite a scoreless draw against Global FC from the Philippines in the last group G match at the Philippine Sports Stadium in the Philippines Wednesday night.

The score is good enough for the Tok Gajah squad to accompany group G champion, South China from Hong Kong, which maintained a clean slate in six matches after winding up their final encounter with Yadanarbon FC, from Myanmar, 3-0.

South China emerged group champion with maximum 18 points, while Pahang garnered eight points from six matches.

In tonight’s match, which was telecast live by a local pay television station, Pahang dominated almost the entire first half, but failed to find the finishing touch.

In the second half, the opponent returned with an aggressive attacking style, but thanks to Pahang goalkeeper, Mohd Khairul Azhan Mohd Khalid, the match ended with a scoreless draw.

Pahang is expected to face severe challenge when the take on group E champion, Persipura Jayapura, from Indonesia in a knock-out tournament on May 26.

Another Malaysian team, Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), who emerged group F champion, will entertain second place group H team, Ayeyawady United FC from Myanmar, at the Tan Sri Hassan Yunos Stadium in Larkin the following day.

— BERNAMA