Johor Darul Ta'zim only need three more points to secure a historic fifth straight Super League title and they have a chance to achieve just that against their nearest direct rival, Perak. The encounter on July 10 is now billed as the title decider and JDT could wrap up another league success if they beat The Bos Gaurus in Ipoh.
The 0-4 win over Melaka United retained the 13 points cushion that JDT hold over Perak and Fernando Elizari was the toast of the team, creating two goals and scoring one. However the Argentine playmaker will have Farizal Marlias to thank as the custodian kept Melaka at bay with some great saves in the first half.
JDT's head coach Raul Longhi was pleased to see an improvement from his team after half time as they strolled away with all three points with a solid performance in the second period.
"Overall what I can say is the team played better in the second half than they did in the first half. It was because in the second half, they played the Johor Darul Ta'zim FC (JDT) way, controlling the ball and being in their respective positions. For me, the players played perfectly in the second half."
"Talking about Melaka, their defence was very good in the first half until we had no chance of creating goals. Their forwards were also very dangerous and caused problems for our defenders. However, after we changed our tactics in the second half, we controlled the game.
"Regarding this season's league championship, I don't want to talk about it yet because I just want to talk about the next match, which will be against Perak. It will be a very difficult match and I will focus on the match for now. What's important is we will try to win every match because JDT are a big club, we need to win no matter what," said Longhi after the match.
Incredibly this is JDT's 12th clean sheet of the campaign from 17 matches played, a sign that also highlighted the disparity between them and the rest of the league. Mehmet Durakovic and his Perak team now remains the final wall standing between JDT and that elusive spot in the 2019 AFC Champions League group stage.