T-Team produced a magnificent defensive performance against Johor Darul Takzim to send the favourites reeling from a single goal defeat.
Johor Darul Ta;zim (JDT) took their star-studded team to Kuala Terengganu for the 2nd round of the Super League to take on T-Team. Both teams come into the match in contrasting fortunes. JDT won their opening fixture against Perak and was given a bye in the FA Cup first round. As for T-Team, they were in Klang Valley for 2 matches, losing one to Selangor and only narrowly beat UiTM.
Azraai Khor in his home debut made the bold decision of dropping captain, Marzuki Yusof to the bench. However, that could be down to just freshening up the team, given quick succession of matches played. As for Cesar Jimenez, Nazrin Nawi started in place of Nurul Azwan Roya as the only change from the first game.
The first half was mostly played at half pace as both sides took turns to enjoy greater possession in the game. First was JDT who had Pablo Aimar pulling the strings in midfield and Nazrin giving Muhd Syuhiran run-around. However the final ball was poor as Luciano Figueroa didn’t get the service he crave for.
Midway through the first half, T-Team came into their own and started to launch a few attacks. Patrick Wanggai tested Norazlan Razali with one long range shots but T-Team’s ploy was mainly via the aerial route. Azlan Ismail was on free kick duties and his delivery was decent. T-Team would win the first headers but not the second ones.
Those that were hoping that the second half would be an improvement on the first half, would have to be bitterly disappointed that the same ponderous performance as the first half was being repeated. Something was needed to spark the game into life and thankfully, that came in the 71st minute of the match.
The delivery from multiple free kicks was clear warning enough for the visiting JDT in the first half but they did not heed the warning. This time, coming from a corner kick, Evaldo Rodrigues beat Baihakki to head the ball back across goal. Wanggai and Fabio Flor both went for the same header which sent the ball into the net to give the Titans the lead. Closer inspection upon replay would show that the latter got the final touch.
The goal caused plenty of concern for Jimenez, who responded by throwing on all his attacking options from the bench. On came Norshahrul Idlan, Safee Sali and former Lions XII captain, Hariss Harun. However, the T-Team defence stood strong and kept JDT at bay. Flor himself would receive most of the plaudits for the wonderful defensive performance that they produced. Kept Figueroa quiet and that itself, is some mean feat.
The team that produced the worst performance of the opening MSL weekend had just beaten the best team from that same round. Only the second week of the league season, the result perhaps indicative that any judgement for team will have to be reserved for later.