Johot Darul Ta'zim's Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (left) tussle for the ball with Pahang's Damion Stewart during their FA Cup semi-final first leg match at the Larkin Stadium on Monday. The teams drew 1-1 - ABDUL RAHMAN EMBONG/ The Star.
JOHOR BARU: Johor Darul Ta’zim’s (JDT) hope of emulating last season’s FA Cup final appearance is in jeopardy after only managing a 1-1 draw with Pahang in the semi-final, first-leg tie at the Larkin Stadium here.
The Southern Tigers took the lead in the 21st minute when Argentine forward Luciano Figueroa slotted home a well-taken free kick by Safiq Rahim.
However, Pahang drew level through their own Argentine striker Matias Conti, who headed home in the 36th minute to give his team a precious away goal.
Conti’s goal stirred JDT from their slumber and they redoubled their efforts in front of a capacity stadium.
The game, however, was marred by JDT manager Bojan Hodak showing his displeasure at several calls made by referee Mohd Zohri Tajudin.
Hodak had to be reminded several times by the fourth official to remain in his technical area.
The match reached boiling point following an off-the-ball incident between Pahang defender Damion Stewart and Mahali Jasuli at the end of the first half.
The JDT fans made their views heard by jeering at the match officials as they made their way into the tunnel.
In the second half, JDT came out stronger and made several changes – including giving a debut to Jorge Pereyra Diaz in the 75th minute.
But not even his presence could spark JDT to life.
JDT nearly paid the price for their missed chances when Pahang midfielder R. Gopinathan shot inches wide in injury time.
After the match, Johor FA president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim made his way to the field to meet the match officials and shake their hands before leaving the stadium.
The return leg will be played at the Darul Makmur Stadium on May 30.