Underdogs KL beat giants JDT to end 32-year wait for Cup title

Getting intense: KL’s Zhafri Yahya (front) in action against JDT’s Bergson Da Silva during the Malaysia Cup final. — S.S. KANESAN/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The odds were against Kuala Lumpur but they rose to the occasion to prove everyone wrong.

In a battle between David and Goliath, KL lifted the Malaysia Cup title for the fourth time after beating Super League champions and fancied Johor Darul Ta’zim 2-0 in the final at the National Stadium here yesterday.

Winger Zhafri Yahya and captain Paulo Josue came alive in the second half by scoring the goals in the 65th and 72nd minutes respectively as the City side ended their 32-year wait for the title.

And it was special as they have pulled it off on the competition’s 100th year anniversary.

The Southern Tigers, as predicted, dominated proceedings with their customary possession play in the first half but they were frustrated by KL’s defensive discipline.

Despite the resilience shown by KL, JDT created a few chances with Brazilian striker Bergson Da Silva having the best shot in the eighth minute when he capitalised on a loose clearance from J. Partiban and unleashed a strong volley but unfortunately, it hit the post.

Overall, JDT had eight shots in that half but were easily nullified by KL goalkeeper Kevin Mendoza.

After the half-time break, Bojan Hodak’s boys gained more ground towards their defensive area while JDT, ironically, were jittery.

KL were more efficient with their possession but they still could not convert their chances into goals but all that worry was put to rest when Zhafri scored in the 65th minute.

Partiban was the chief architect when he beat rightback Matthew Davies with several step overs and unleashed a pinpoint cross which Zhafri converted.

Seven minutes later, KL silenced the fervent JDT crowd with a second goal when Josue finished off a smooth move initiated by Ryan Lambert and substitute Hadin Azman on the left.

KL held on to their lead with goalkeeper Mendoza standing tall with countless saves until the final whistle as the City Boys celebrated their superb victory in a match that will surely be known as the minnows who slayed the giants on the biggest stage.

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