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Figueroa puts tight PJ City result down to fatigue

3:38 AM GMT 14/04/2019
Diogo Luis Santo, PJ City FC v Johor Darul Ta'zim, Malaysia Super League, 13 Apr 2019
JDT could only muster a single goal victory over unfancied PJ City FC as the AFC Champions League commitment begins to take its toll on the team.

It was only on Tuesday that Johor Darul Ta'zim were in Shandong to face the Chinese Super League side in the ACL and on Saturday, they were back in action in the Super League in an away fixture against a PJ City side who are in their best form of the season, going into the match. 

While the period between the two matches doesn't run foul of the requirement set by FIFA, it does not mean that the players have gone through all the necessary rest and recovery their individual body needs. After a strong start to the match in which they took the lead through Syafiq Ahmad, JDT struggled for most parts in the second half against PJ City.

Team manager Luciano Figueroa admitted that freshness was a problem with the team on a very difficult pitch that suffered a a heavy downpour prior to the match. The Argentine will be looking to give a few of them a breather in the coming days double header against PKNS FC in the FA Cup and league.

"We played good first half by having the ball possession and attacking. Of course in the second half, we went a bit low because they were very tired. It's very difficult when you travel a lot and play tough teams. So it's very important to get the three points.

"The XI we put in the first half, we think that they are the best for this type of game. Of course we saw that we were a bit tired and now we have to think forward. We have to rotate the players. We saw also when we give the chance to Fiq (Syafiq Ahmad) to play and he did very well for us.

"He's good with the ball. Because he's a striker, he knows when to go to the box and when to make the run to break the lines. He did a good game for us and we think this could work for him and I'm very happy for him," said Figueroa after the match.

Syafiq was the only change made from the team that started against Shandong and the youngster grabbed the rare opportunity with both hands with a splendid display as an attacking midfielder. With his other team mates looking leggy, he could be eyeing further chances in the coming days.

With Ignacio 'Natxo' Insa and Leandro Velazquez still nursing their respective injuries, Figueoa could turn to the likes of Nazmi Faiz or even Syamer Kutty Abba to fill the gaps until their return. Even at the back, the likes of Mauricio dos Santos and La'Vere Corbin-Ong are in need of a rest as they have been ever-present in the team thus far.


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