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Malaysia Cup

Mora happy with new happy problem for JDT

3:44 AM GMT 14/09/2019
Annas Rahmat, Akhyar Rashid, Petaling Jaya City FC v Johor Darul Ta'zim, Malaysia Cup, 13 Sep 2019
Despite being without star striker Diogo Luis Santo, JDT still managed to beat PJ City but that in itself presented a new conundrum for Mora.

The Brazilian was initially though to be available for the match but picked up a knock in training that kept him out of what proved to be a vital match for Johor Darul Ta'zim as The Southern Tigers clinched a spot in the 2019 Malaysia Cup quarterfinals on the back of that 3-2 win of Petaling Jaya City FC.

In his stead, Benjamin Mora relied on an in-form Syafiq Ahmad and was rewarded with two goals from the 24-year-old, including the winner in the second half. Now with a knock-out place secured and the need to keep Diogo protected, Mora could yet offer more minutes to Syafiq to continue to shine.

The match in Kelana Jaya saw PJ City producing a shock lead through Bae Beom-geun but Safawi Rasid equalised quickly for JDT before Syafiq's intervention in the game. For Mora, the most important thing was to ensure that the team found their rhythm again after the international break and the result was the bonus.

"Diogo has a knock in the lower back during training session. Nothing to be worried about. He'll be joining the team in one or two days, for sure he'll be available for the next game. Now I have problem (pointing at Syafiq). The situation was that we wanted to take of him because he's an important player for us. A good rest is welcomed for him but he'll be back soon

"After the break, normally we are occupied on maintaining the players' mentality. That we needed to win today to qualify to the next round. We had national team players back with good performances and motivated. It was a tough game. PJ City is growing, a team that is working very good. They have good foreign players and complicate a lot our way of playing.

"It was a difficult game for both. There were a lot of challenges. The pitch helped them more than us but this is football. We are happy for the three points. I'm happy for Syafiq Ahmad, for my players and JDT," said Mora in the post-match press conference.

JDT will face UiTM FC in their final Group B match on Tuesday but that is a dead rubber match with the former already taking one of the qualifying spot from the spot while a point-less UiTM have already been eliminated from the oldest cup competition in Southeast Asia.

Which could mean that Mora could do to others what he has given Syafiq - more game time. Those like Akhyar Rashid, Hazwan Bakri, Syamer Kutty Abba, Nazmi Faiz and Fadhli Shas have not seen much playing time this season and could get a run out.

The other quarterfinal spot from the group will be a straight fight between PJ City and PKNP FC with the two facing each other on match day six of the group stage.

 

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