Wednesday, 13 August 2014 | MYT 11:12 PM
JDT edge Kelantan 1-0 to kick off Malaysia Cup campaign
JDT’s Mohd Safee Sali tussles for the ball with Kelantan’s Hussein Alla Magsoosi (left) during the Malaysia Cup Group C match at the Larkin Stadium. — ABDUL RAHMAN EMBONG / The Star
JOHOR BARU: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) strengthen their credentials as favourites for the Malaysia Cup crown after beating Kelantan 1-0 at the Larkin Stadium on Wednesday.
Midfielder Safiq Rahim’s solitary goal in the 72th minute was enough for the Southern Tiger to get the three points.
Despite playing without several key players, the home team wrest control of the match from the start.
JDT almost scored in the 10th minute but national striker Safee Sali’s weak shot was pushed away by the Red Warrior stalwart Khairul Fahmi Che Mat.
However, Safee picked up an injury from the attempt and was substituted by Safiq Rahim.
Midfielder Hariss Harun then had a golden opportunity to put JDT in front in the 24th minute but his shot went over the bar following a cutback from captain Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak.
In the second half, JDT came out stronger and their efforts paid off.
Safiq put them ahead following a defence splitting pass from fellow substitute Jasazrin Jamaluddin.
The home crowd went into a frenzy when Brazilian defender Marcos Antonio scored in the 76th minute. But his effort was ruled offside.
Kelantan tried to come back into the match but Francis Doe headed straight to the bar.
The Liberian then had a strong penalty claim turned down by referee Samsudin Ibrahim when he was pull down by Antonio.
At the Selayang Stadium, Armed Forces were held to a 1-1 draw by Penang in another Group C match.
Forces skipper Hairuddin Omar opened the scoring in the 27th minute before Rafiuddin Rodin converted a spot-kick in the 45th minute to share the points.
Meanwhile, Selangor staged a comeback to edge T-Team 2-1 in their Group D tie at the Sultan Ismail Stadium.
The Titans went ahead from Indonesian Patrich Wanggai’s strike in the 49th minute but his compatriot Andik Vermansyah equalised two minutes later.
The Red Giants’ Paulo Rangel made sure the 32-time Malaysia Cup champions return home with full points when he sealed the match in the 56th minute.
Selangor will face Police next at the Shah Alam Stadium while T-Team will take on Sime Darby on Aug 20.