PETALING JAYA: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) have done it again.
Under the night neon lights and soaking rain, the Southern Tigers persevered under a substandard field to beat Terengganu 3-1 in the final to retain the Malaysia Cup at a fully-packed National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
With the win, JDT have created history by becoming the first team to win a double-quadruple in Malaysia.
They have already won the Community Shield, FA Cup, and Super League this year just like how they swept all four titles last year – to underline their status as the untouchables in the Malaysian football scene.
Yesterday, the Southern Tigers took a superb early lead when Brazilian striker Bergson Da Silva converted a penalty kick just five minutes into the game. It was his 11th goal of the campaign.
But referee S. Logeswaran’s decision to award the penalty seemed dubious, as the foul by rightback Azam Azmi Murad on Argentine striker Fernando Forestieri was a soft one.
Unperturbed by the setback, Terengganu upped the ante and deservedly earned their reward when Croatian striker Ivan Mamut was also given a penalty which he converted in the 18th minute to level the score.
Mamut was awarded the spot-kick after he was denied a goalscoring chance by JDT captain Jordi Amat, when the Indonesian international had kicked the striker in the back.
The imperfect pitch made it harder for both teams but they persevered and JDT almost nailed their second in the 43rd minute when 35-year-old Brazilian striker Heberty Fernandes blasted a shot over the bar after a low-drilled cross from winger Arif Aiman Hanapi.
The second-half proved to be a cagey affair as both sides were aggressive and made fast transitions, but could not create good chances.
The Turtles had the chance to take the lead in the 64th minute but Mamut failed to score his second goal of the night when, after being teed by Uzbekistani midfielder Nurillo Tukhtasinov with a free-kick, he unleashed a left-foot shot that was well saved by JDT goalkeeper Ahmad Syihan Hazmi.
Mamut must have rued his miss as minutes later, JDT surged into the lead when substitute centreback Feroz Baharuddin finished off a corner from Fernandes with a superb glancing header in the 73rd minute.
JDT ended the Turtles’ hopes of a fightback when Arif scored the third goal in the 94th minute via a penalty.
JDT held on to their lead as they continued to show how indomitable they are in Malaysia with this latest Cup win.
Feroz was over the moon.
“I’ve no words to describe the goal. I didn’t expect it to happen but I guess it was my luck. I want to thank my boss (Johor Crown Prince and team owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim) for guiding me to be on this stage,” said Feroz.
“I dreamt last night that I would score a goal and I did it, and in fact it was the winning goal. I am glad, I am really glad.”