Ire of the Tigers

Goalless affair: Johor Darul Ta’zim’s Bergson Da Silva (in blue) is challenged by Kedah’s Rodney Celvin Akwensivie during their Malaysia Cup quarter-final first-leg match at the Darulaman Stadium. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: A bruised ego has added the fuel to Johor Darul Ta’zim’s ambition to get to the semi-finals of the Malaysia Cup.

The Southern Tigers huffed and puffed for a goal but were frustrated by Kedah’s dogged defending as they drew 0-0 in their Malaysia Cup first-leg quarter-final at the Darulaman Stadium on Sunday.

JDT coach Benjamin Mora cut a frustrated figure after the game as his side created numerous chances but missed them all.

He believes the disappointment in Alor Setar will only motivate them to give their all in the second leg at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Iskandar Puteri on Thursday.

“In the knockout stage, you kill or you die. It is as simple as that. We have the second leg at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium, and I can assure you that we will only give our best,” said Mora.

“We controlled the action in the first leg but Kedah were rough and strong. They played a defensive line of six and had two midfielders helping them too.

“So it wasn’t easy to break their line, and the chances we had, were denied. So that was frustrating.

“I guess Kedah got what they wanted from this game. They got their strategy right, but I assure you, we won’t be the same in Johor.”

Kedah coach Aidil Sharin was happy to see his boys following the game plan to the dot and hoped that they could cause an upset.

“The desire, discipline and determination, they had it all. I’ve to thank the management for giving us the tonic by settling our two-month salary dues,” said the Singaporean.

“We didn’t have some of our best players and only played two foreigners (Kpah Sherman and Renan Alves). But we gave JDT a good fight. No goals, but I hoped the fans enjoyed the performance

“Hopefully, we can bring this attitude to Johor and try to get an upset if we can.

“It’s not easy to play in their fortress, but in football, if we have 11 players determined to win, anything can happen.

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