In a match between arguably the best team in the country against a mid-table team in the second division, a big disparity of quality is expected when Johor Darul Ta'zim took on UiTM FC in last night's FA Cup action.
That was what transpired for most parts as JDT dominated proceedings and hogged most of the ball possession. UiTM displayed tremendous spirit to keep the star-studded JDT side at bay but then took advantage of momentarily lapses of concentration from the Malaysia heavyweights.
Twice late in each half, UiTM found their way to score past Farizal Marlias to set up nervy endings to each half and it's an unwanted scenario for new head coach, Raul Longhi. The Argentine was not best pleased with what his saw even though his side ultimately grinded out a win.
"Happy with the result because the win is important but I'm not entirely happy because some moment is not good concentration, especially at the end of each halves. This is game for us if we maintained at 2-0, it would have been easier for us. But we made it difficult and that's what we need to improve on," said Longhi after the match.
It was a continuation of the indifferent form that JDT have shown in away matches compared to the ones they play in front of their adoring home fans in Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium in Johor Bahru. Only this time, they managed to eek out a win.
On the plus side, that match saw Safawi contributing with all three goals in the 2-3 win. The wide forward converted early in the first half with a right footed strike, that was followed by a deflected free kick before a thunderous volley in the second half capped a wonderful performance from the 21-year-old.
Longhi has overseen many talented young players in his time as a coach and he knows that it's still a long way to go for Safawi.
"Safawi is very young player in good condition. He has a good future in football but he will need to continue to work hard and continue to strive to improve," added Longhi.
JDT goes into the draw on Tuesday and will wait to see who their quarterfinal opponent will be.