JOHOR BAHRU, Mac 5 – Three points in the league plus retaining the Sultan Ahmad Shah Cup in the Charity Shield match with a 2-0 win over Kedah would not have been a better start for Johor Darul Takzim to kickstart the 2021 Malaysian Football League.
The Southern Tigers gave a dominating performance at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Iskandar Puteri, Johor Bahru to give early warnings to their rivals that the seven-time Super League champions will be the team to beat.
A goal in each half was enough to settle the match when Safawi Rasid drilled home an unstoppable left-footer into the far corner in the 35th minute – beating Kedah keeper Ifwat Akmal all the way from an assist by Afiq Fazail in a move that began with a corner kick.
JDT gave Kedah early warnings when Leandro Velaquez rocked the bar in the fourth minute. The visitors also checked JDT when Kpah Sherman saw his attempt coming off the bar with JDT keeper Farizal Marlias caught on the wrong foot after 20 minutes of play.
Kedah conceded the second goal on 68 minutes. This time Natxo Insa had all the luxury to tuck the ball past substitute keeper Shahril Saari from outside the box.
Shahril replaced Ifwat when the latter was stretchered out after a collision with Safawi in the 51st minute.
A delighted JDT coach Benjamin Mora was more than happy to win the match as he hates penalty shootouts which he says are a “heartbreak” if spot-kicks are to decide the matches where a trophy is at stake.
“We did not concede a goal and to win 2-0 sums up our dominance. We were superior and composed throughout the match. It is the start of a long season and we have to be prepared.
”With this in mind, we will continue working…the challenges will be stronger and bigger this season. The players were composed and we had better ball possession,” said the long-serving Mora who hails from Mexico.

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