Johor Darul Ta'zim dropped the first points of the 2019 Malaysia Super League season after only drawing 2-2 against Terengganu FC on match day three. Having won their opening two matches at home, this first away trip of the season proved as tricky as expected.
Conceding a very goal to the home side exposed the lack of defensive shape as Lee Tuck and Khairul Izuan combined to carve open JDT's defence. The opportunity to grab a first half equaliser was also squandered when Diogo Luis Santo inexplicably smashed his penalty wide of the goal.
Yet the reigning champions turned things around through quickfire goals from Safawi Rasid and Diogo in the second half but were eventually pegged back by Kamal Azizi's equaliser close to the final whistle. Team manager Luciano Figueroa was less than please to see his side concede the late goal and vowed to improve concentration levels in coming games.
"We wanted to win but couldn't so I'm not so happy with how we played. It's not about the skills, we just didn't play a good game and we have to improve for next game. With him (Aaron Niguez) inside, he can help to change a little bit. we scored and we were winning but we conceded again."
"We have to improve to maintain until the final whistle, because it cannot keep happening," said Figueroa in the post-match press conference.
Figueora had opted to go with Syafiq Ahmad in the central attacking midfield role behind Diogo and the former put in a commendable shift but failed to create goalscoring chances for his team. It was not until Niguez's introduction in the second half that JDT found a better momentum going forward.
But the result wasn't the only thing that left the former Birmingham City player frustrated after it was put to him in the post-match press conference that his side were getting the rub of the green with most of the refereeing decisions that Nazmi Nasaruddin made.
"I think the penalties were penalties but I don't want to comment on the referees because that is not my decisions. You know already that we don't like referees but we cannot do anything. This is the thing that Malaysian referees have to improve because they make many mistakes in one game."
"Of course when we get penalties, everybody talk about it. But when other teams gets penalties, nobody talk about it. It's like this since i came here in 2014," added Figueroa.
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