JOHOR BAHRU, Apr 22 – To end the first round matches with an unbeaten record is something Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) can ride on for the second round matches in Group I of the AFC Champions League.
On Thursday, the Southern Tigers held mighty Kawasaki Frontale to a scoreless draw at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Iskandar Puteri, Johor Bahru.
The stalemate against the favoured Japanese outfit came in the wake of a 2-1 win over South Korea side Ulsan Hyundai and a 5-0 whitewash of China’s Guangzhou FC in their opening match.
For coaches Benjamin Mora (JDT) and Toru Oniki (Kawasaki) it was a “fair result” but it was the Mexican who was more than pleased to see his Southern Tigers sitting on the top of the group with seven points without conceding a goal.
JDT is followed by Kawasaki on five points and Ulsan Hyundai on four points. Guangzhou is at the bottom without a point and a goal to show.
Thursday’s match also saw the return of JDT’s number one goalkeeper Farizal Marlias – who was playing his first match in the group.
The national number one sat out the first two matches due to a head injury and his place was taken by Haziq Nadzli.
Haziq himself picked up a shoulder injury against Ulsan and place was taken over by Izham Tarmizi. Against Kawasaki, Mora brought back Farizal and the veteran keeper had an outstanding game in the Japanese club.