The big Brazilian is quickly making everyone forget about the loss of Marcos Antonio after close to five month of proving that he is an invaluable member of Johor Darul Ta'zim's squad. Just like Antonio before him, Mauricio dos Santos is extremely committed to the cause as can be proven by his presence in Sunday's 2-0 win over Kedah.
Doubts over his fitness appeared after he had to be replaced by Adam Nor Azlin early in the second of the AFC Champions League group stage match against South Korean side Gyeongnam FC but Mauricio fought against the odds to recover sufficiently to help his team keep only their 6th clean sheet in 15 matches.
The former Lazio man will now at least have more days to continue his recovery with the upcoming international break. JDT does not return to action until June 16 when they will travel to Manjung for the first time in their history to face PKNP FC.
"Mauricio wanted to continue and he was very good. He always want to play. Even though he went out in Korea and after three days recovery, he still wanted to play for us. So we're very happy with his commitment as well as the rest of the team.
"Kedah are a good team with great players. It was a tough game but we did a great job. We played good football to win the game and three points for us is very important. I'm very happy with the players because they gave me everything on the field. The game today (Sunday) was almost perfect," said Figueroa in the post-match press conference.
Leandro Velazquez put JDT ahead in the first half through a wonderful left footed curler from outside the box that left Ifwat Akmal with no chance of saving it. Then Safawi Rasid sealed all three point when he latched onto a loose ball inside the box late in the second half.
The win is JDT's 12th of the 2019 Super League season and sees them continuing to stay unbeaten in the division. Pahang's match was postponed, which means that JDT now has temporarily opened up a 13 points gap with only seven more matches to go.
Just like Antonio did in his first season at JDT, Mauricio is on course to lead his new team to the Super League title.
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