PETALING JAYA: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) seemed to have a knack for scoring last-minute winners this season.
In their penultimate Group I match of the AFC Champions League, the Southern Tigers scored in the last kick of the game to beat South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai 2-1 to top the group and qualify for the last 16 on April 30.
In the Super League, they beat Negri Sembilan 1-0 with a last-gasp goal from Fernando Forestieri on May 11 and on July 15, they downed Sabah 2-1, with Forestieri again scoring in the final minute.
And their latest victims were Melaka. Brazilian striker Bergson Da Silva, returning from injury, scored a 92nd-minute winner to down the hosts 2-1 in the quarter-final of the FA Cup at the Hang Jebat Stadium on Saturday.
JDT took the lead through Ahmad Hazwan Bakri in the fourth minute when he finished off from an Arif Aiman Hanapi’s corner kick with a thumping header.
Melaka drew level in the 80th minute when Haitian winger Sony Norde buried a penalty but substitute Bergson had the last laugh when he headed in from another Arif’s corner kick to seal their spot in the semis.
They will entertain Penang, who dumped Pahang 5-2, at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Iskandar Puteri on Aug 5.
JDT fitness coach Jorge Alvarez, who filled in for Benjamin Mora, said the players again showed their never-say-die attitude.
“I would like to congratulate the players for the high effort and the winning mentality they showed till the end. We knew it was going to be tough, and it was,” he said.
“We controlled the game perfectly. Honestly, we had a lot of chances but what matters most is we reached the next stage.
“Bergson is a top-class player. Important for us. He is not ready to play 90 minutes yet as he is just returning from an injury, but he went in with a fantastic attitude.”
Melaka coach Asri Ninggal concurred adding that the Brazilian’s presence made the difference.
“If Bergson didn’t play, JDT are nothing. Bergson is the best finisher in the league at the moment.
“I’ve to credit the boys because even though we were trailing, they fought hard to find the equaliser.
“We should blame ourselves it’s just that we were not focused for 90 minutes.”