JOHOR BARU: Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) ended Pahang’s “lucky streak” in style with a 2-0 win in the Charity Shield cum Super League match at the Larkin Stadium.
Last season they met five times and the Elephants were deemed lucky to end up winning thrice and holding JDT to two draws but goals from Marcos Santos in the 37th minute and Luciano Figueroa in the 59th on Saturday night ended the Southern Tigers’ winless run against their arch-rivals.
The win also handed JDT three points as the Charity Shield match also served as a Super League tie.
JDT were the dominant force in front of their home fans and could have won by a bigger margin but were foiled by the crossbar on two occasions.
Pahang, who were without their injured winger Mohd Azamuddin Akhil, lacked last season’s creativity as strikers Dickson Nwakaeme and Matias Conti cut desolate figures up front.
The Southern Tigers’ continuous pressure finally yielded result after midfielder Harris Harun’s flick on was headed in by Brazilian centreback Santos for the opening goal in the 37th minute.
Pahang failed to step up their game despite being a goal down and only showed minimal improvement after the breather.
JDT’s three-man midfield of Mohd Shakir Shaari, Mohd Safiq Rahim and Harris were more creative in mounting their attacks compared to their counterparts Azidan Sarudin and Mohd Hafiz Kamal.
Figueroa, who had earlier hit the crossbar in the first half, ensured JDT sealed full points with a well-placed header in the 59th minute.
Pahang tried to get back into the game but it proved too little too late.
The win served as a timely boost for the Southern Tigers as they will be playing in the AFC Champions League qualifiers against Bangalaru FC of India on Wednesday.