Johor Darul Takzim 0-2 Perth Glory: JDT’s Malaysia Cup preparation off to a poor start

Visiting Australian side triumphed against the Southern Tigers thanks to a penalty in the first half and a last-minute header

The Southern Tigers started their Malaysia Cup preparation against Australia's Perth Glory earlier tonight. Although it had been strongly rumoured that former Inter Milan and Villareal forward Pablo Aimar would make his first appearance for JDT, his name was nowhere to be seen in the team sheet. Whereas for Perth Glory, it was a walk down nostalgia lane of sorts as their manager Alistair Edwards was, and still is a household name in the country; having formerly played for Johor FA and Selangor in the early 90's.

JDT almost opened account as early as the 8th minute when striker Safee Sali latched on to a brilliant through pass from his national team mate Safiq Rahim at the edge of the Perth penalty box. Although Leonel Nunez was waiting at the far post, he chose to go for glory himself, only to miss the goalmouth rather meekly.

The homeside further strengthened in the 12th minute their foothold in the match when they were given a freekick 30 metres out. Aidil Zafuan stepped up to take it, and sent a blistering shot towards the goal that whizzed very closely by the goal post. In the 21st minute, Perth Glory looked to have opened the scoring in the match when an unmarked Ryo Nagai latched onto a pass near the left post of the JDT goal before slotting it past the goalkeeper. But he was adjudged to have been in an offside position by the assistant referee.

But as the match was threatening to slow down, Perth were given a penalty by the referee in the 34th minute. JDT goalkeeper AL-Hafiz Hamzah failed to hold on to a strong shot from outside the box, and when he dived to gather the rebound, he also tripped the onrushing Nagai and the whistle was blown. Perth captain Steven McGary converted the spot kick with ease, to take the lead for the visitors. The scoreline remained 0-1 when the first half whistle was blown.

Seven minutes into the second half, JDT's Andrezinho had a chance to help his team equalise when he received the ball on the left of the penalty box unmarked. But his cross into the box left a lot to be desired, dropping nowhere near Nunez who was waiting in front of the goal. Near the hour mark, Safiq Rahim almost recaptured his former form when he curled in a free kick from 30 metres out near the top left corner of the Perth goalmouth. But goalkeeper Danny Vukovic was equal to it, tipping the much maligned national skipper's attempt over the bar to keep his team’s lead.

Vukovic was again the saviour of the visitors two minutes later, again tipping away a dangerous freekick from the same distance, this time from Nunez. It was to be the Argentine's last contribution in the match, as he was substituted for Ahmad Ezrie moments later. As the clock approached the final 10 minutes, fatigue creeped among the JDT players and their chances grew rarer.

Seven minutes from time, a chipped through pass launched Hadin Azman into the Perth penalty box. But his attempt to square the ball to the waiting Safee hit a trailing leg of a defender instead. The ensuing corner kick was chested well by Safee, which was followed up with a stinging shot towards the right corner, but it was blocked on the line. Just as the match was looking to finish a 1-0 loss to the home side, Glory doubled their lead with the very last kick. A cross from the left found Sidnei on the far post, and he nodded the ball towards Ndumba Makeche near the left post who was marked very poorly by Aidil. Makeche had the easiest task of guiding the ball into the net with his head, and the final whistle was quickly blown by the referee afterwards.

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