Wednesday, 21 May 2014 | MYT 6:22 PM
Hodak pleased with JDT comeback
A filepic of Luciano Figueroa (mid) who found the net once as JDT defeated Lions XI 3-2.
PETALING JAYA: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) coach Bojan Hodak has praised his team for showing real character in coming from 2-0 down to beat Lions XII 3-2 in their Super League match at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Argentine striker Jorge Diaz’s double (43rd and 75th) and a 55th-minute Luciano Figueroa strike handed JDT a hard-earned win after the Singaporeans had gone ahead through midfielders Faris Ramli (38th) and Zulfahmi Arifin (40th).
The win enabled JDT to leapfrog Terengganu into third spot. The club side and second-placed Pahang are tied on 29 points but the Elephants have a better goal difference. Selangor top the 12-team standings with 34 points.
The 43-year-old Bojan described Tuesday’s win as “crucial” because it has kept their title chances alive with six more matches to play.
“For me as coach it’s important that my players show character. You can have the best player in the world but you won’t win anything without character,” said the Croatian.
“This match was crucial for us ... mentally. We managed to win and are now closer to Selangor ahead of the match (against Selangor) on Saturday.”
Lions XII coach Fandi Ahmad was left to rue referee Muhammad Nazmi Nasaruddin’s decision to award a controversial penalty in the 54th minute, which turned the match around.
Nazmi showed Afiq Yunus a yellow card and awarded JDT a penalty although the ball only hit the defender’s chest.
Figueroa’s penalty was palmed away by goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud but the Argentinian slotted in the rebound.
“I don’t understand how is it that when the ball hits the chest, it’s a yellow card and a penalty. The ball wasn’t even near his (Afiq’s) arms and that decision demoralised my players,” said the former Singapore international.
“I thought we did well and took our chances but we lost to a better side ... congratulations to JDT on their fightback.”