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AFC Champions League

Mora: JDT exceeded expectations in first ACL

11:00 pm AEST 23/5/19
Adam Nor Azlin, Gyeongnam FC v Johor Darul Ta'zim, AFC Champions League, 22 May 2019
The Johor Darul Ta'zim head coach was adamant that it has been a relatively successful first outing for the club in the AFC Champions League.

JDT's journey in the ACL ended earlier that what they would have liked but their performances in every one of those six matches played in Group E, have earned them rave reviews not only within Malaysia but across the Asian region as well. The manner in which the team have played against the bigger boys have made a lot of people sit up and take JDT more seriously.

Drawn in the same group as defending champions Kashima Antlers (Japan), Shandong Luneng (China) and Gyeongnam FC (South Korea) meant that JDT were always facing an uphill battle to reach the Round of 16 but in getting a win and a draw during the group phase, meant that they were at least being competitive.

For Benjamin Mora, he remains very proud of what his charges have produced in the course of the competition. JDT's 2-0 defeat away to Gyeongnam on Wednesday confirmed their exit from the ACL but just like the other matches, JDT played in the way which they set out to.

"We are satisfied with our first participation in the ACL. We were above the expectations of what JDT was supposed to do in this competition. Every match we try to maintain our style, try to control the games with the ball and try to provoke good results.

"In football there are a lot of factors that are involved in the result. One of them is of course this particular time of the year when they have the Ramadhan. Of course this can bounce a little tough on the conditions of the players. But this is professional football and we have to be up the challenge in every game we play," said Mora in the post-match press conference.

Beating Kashima 1-0 at Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium on Match Day 5 will undoubtedly be JDT's highlight in their first ever foray at the highest level of club competition in Asia. But it is also how they have managed to keep their opponents worried even in away matches that will send strong signals out to the rest of the continent.

Being 10 points ahead of their closest rival in the on-going Malaysia Super League, JDT look to set for a quick return to the ACL in 2020 where they will look to take the experience gained this year and attempt to better their record in the competition.


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