Kedah's Jose Franco Regino performs a bicycle kick in their FA Cup second-leg quarter-final match against Johor Darul Ta'zim. JDT won the match 2-0 and booked their place in the semi-finals. – Bernama Photo
ALOR SETAR: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) withstood the Kedah storm and nicked a 2-0 win at the Darulaman Stadium here to book their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a 5-1 aggregate.
An opportunistic goal in the 65th minute by national striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and another by substitute Safee Sali six minutes from time were enough for the Southern Tigers to tame the Red Eagles in their own den.
Norshahrul dispossessed a hesitating Kedah defender Khairol Helmi before rounding goalkeeper Saiful Amar and slotting the ball into the empty net.
Carrying a 3-1 advantage from the first leg in Larkin, last year’s finalists JDT carried out their game plan to slow down the tempo and frustrate Kedah to perfection.
Playing in front of a 30,000 crowd, the home side failed to break down the solid JDT defence, which was marshalled by stand-in skipper Baihakki Khaizan.
Depite not listing star striker Pablo Aimar for the tie, JDT still had enough quality on the pitch to frustrate the home team.
In Aimar’s absence, Luciano Figueroa was utilised as the main striker for the visitors and he did not disappoint, causing trouble as early as the 10th minute.
Figueroa’s stiff shot took a wicked deflection off defender Rizal Ghazali but, to the relief of the home fans, it veered off target.
From the ensuing corner, an unmarked Mahali Jasuli was unlucky not to score after his volley whizzed past the Kedah upright.
Kedah’s first real chance fell to Mohd Syazwan, but his deflected long-range attempt was well saved by JDT goalkeeper Izham Tarmizi.
Although Kedah enjoyed more possession, it was JDT who looked likelier to break the deadlock with their quick counterattacks.
Norshahrul pounced on a defensive mistake to punish Kedah with the opening goal before Safee hit the final nail in Kedah’s coffin with his team’s second.