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JDT caps pre-season tour in Thailand with win

10:54 EAT 24/01/2019
Aaron Niguez, Johor Darul Ta'zim FC
Johor Darul Ta'zim FC warmed up for the challenge of retaining their Super League title by ending their pre-season tour of Thailand with a win.

JDT will began their challenging 2019 season in earnest when they welcome 2018 Malaysia Cup champions Perak to their home den on February 2 2019 for the first match of the new 2019 Malaysia Super League season, a match which also doubles up as the Charity Cup that sees the league champions face the cup champions.

In a season where JDT knew that they are going to face a big introduction into the group stage football of the AFC Champions League, preparations is key. And like just the past few seasons, Thailand was the choice of destination for their pre-season work.

Last night saw them completed the third of their pre-season friendly matches on a positive note after defeating PTT Rayong FC 1-3, having earlier drawn against Bangkok United FC 2-2 and losing the first match 2-1 to Ratchaburi Mitr Phol FC.

Seeing as it was pre-season, head coach and team manager Luciano Figueroa used the matches to test the full extent of his squad with the likes of Diogo Luis Santo, Mauricios dos Santos, Aaron Niguez and Nazmi Faiz not playing all three matches completely.

This pre-season is the first one that Figueroa has complete control of right from the start and one that he is likely to be using to fully understand what each and every player can give him as well as finetuning the system and understanding between the older and newer players.

One area which he seemed to be putting more focus on is the defence with four out five of the defenders named in the starting line-up for every single one of those three matches. Adam Nor Azlin looks to be the nominated starting central defender for this season with Fadhli Shas assuming the back-up role while Azrif Nasrulhaq may have finally usurped S. Kunanlan as the starting right back.

Last season JDT started off with a 2-1 win over Kedah in the league/Charity Cup and they will be looking to lift their first silverware of the season on the first go when they take on Mehmet Durakovic's side, who finished closest to them in the league last season.


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