Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) are champions of Malaysia once again despite going down 1-2 to Selangor at Selayang Stadium on Saturday night. Kedah's failure to get maximum points from their match against Pahang meant that the champions of Malaysia had been decided after the completion of Round 19 of 22.
JDT are crowned Super League champions for - a record breaking - fourth consecutive season. This after Natxo Insa produced an outstanding long range effort late in the first half that sailed into the top corner. Amri Yahyah equalised in the second half after reacting quickest to a throw-in.
Substitute Andik Vermansah was subbed on midway through the second half and he came on to great effect, latching on to A. Namathevan's pass before producing a low grounder that Izham Tarmizi couldn't prevent from going into goal.
Despite there being three more round of matches left to play in the league, JDT current tally of 45 points is 11 points more than Kedah, who can only gain a maximum of 9 points from the remaining macthes.
Since 2013 when the club was launched, JDT has only failed to win the league title on one occasion, which happened in the first year of their existence. The Southern Tigers have gone on to clinch the 2014, 2015 and 2016 titles before adding this latest one.
Ulisses Morais may only been in the hot seat for a few months but has already matched what Mario Gomez and Bojan Hodak achieved in guiding the team to the title. The efforts of Benjamin Mora in the first half of the campaign also cannot be discounted.
Though the team has gone through a change with the departures of key individuals like Hariss Harun, Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Martin Lucero - the gap to the other teams in the league is still a large one. Gabriel Guerra, Gonzalo Cabrera and of late Natxo Insa have taken over the mantle of the former players and have all played a crucial role in helping JDT to the title.
Marcos Antonio remains a rock at the back for JDT as S. Kunanlan and Fazly Mazlan matures in their respective fullback positions. Safiq Rahim remains the fulcrum of the side and was pivotal in their success this season.
Their only blip in this league season was against Perak earlier in the campaign but to win the title with only one defeat is still a fantastic output of performance from the league champions.
With reinforcements being planned for next season such as the reintroduction of Hariss back into the team, JDT could well hang on to the title for a few more years.