Cesare Jimenez's men secured a pivotal victory as Luciano Figueroa and Norshahrul Idlan Tahala fired them to all three points
BY KEESHAANAN SUNDARESAN Follow on Twitter
The midfield combination between Nurul Azwan Roya, Safiq Rahim and Shakir looked incredibly stable as they dominated the midfield battle early on.
But despite that, Sime Darby appeared with the first real chance of the game as Fahrul Razi found space on the 11th minute mark to unleash a predatory attempt, though his shot was saved well by Izham Tarmizi.
Six minutes later, Fahrul had yet another attempt to put the home side upfront, but the ex-Perak flanker's free-kick attempt went straight into the hands of Izham yet again.
Just as Sime Darby were slowly edging into the game, Johor struck first blood through Luciano Figueroa, who fired home a terrific free-kick.
From that moment, the Southern Tigers showed more initiative on the offence, especially via their full-backs, with Mahali Jasuli's overlapping runs proving to be a menace.
Johor got their coveted second goal when Norshahrul Idlan showed incredible predatory instict to pounce on to the rebound off a spectacular attempt from Safiq Rahim and fired home.
The home side did show more intent in the second half, as Prabakaran displayed great tenacity down the flanks on 59 minutes, but his final product sailed just over the bar, much to the disappointment of Ismail Zakaria.
Three minutes later, Dilshod was shown a red card for what appeared to be a harsh challenge on Mahali to end hopes of a comeback from Sime Darby. Johor began to dictate the tempo of the game, though they themselves struggled to make chances pay in the final third.
Figueroa has several chances to add a third, but all to no avail. Fahrul, who looked like Sime Darby's best attacking outlet throughout the game, also had a couple of chances that were ultimately wasted.