Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) continued their assault on the 2017 Super League title with another win on Wednesday, albeit an unconvincing one against PKNS FC. In the match played at Shah Alam Stadium, JDT needed a late contribution from midfielder Amirulhadi Zainal to come away with a slender 1-0 away win.
That match also marked a new beginning for the Southern Tigers - freshly-signed import striker Mohammed Ghaddar made his first start for the reigning league champions but was unable to procure a debut goal to celebrate the occasion.
The former Kelantan striker had chances in both halves of the match but was let down by a combination of good goalkeeping from Zamir Selamat and hesitancy on his part when presented with the chance to score.
However, Benjamin Mora has thrown his support for his new signing - choosing to look at the positives of his overall performance. Ghaddar continued to show good movement and opening himself up for the pass when others would have let their heads drop after initial profligacy in front of goal.
"I do not measure my players by if they score or if they save. That is something that he might have to do because he's a striker. But he tried and he ran. He went into the box and he shoot 2 - 3 times."
"Of course as a striker to not score, it's a little frustrating for them. But I'm satisfied because he gave his best. He was a little bit upset about not being very sharp but I'm totally satisfied with Ghaddar," said Mora after the match.
It's a case of high expectations that comes with his value as well as his record of 18 league goals for the Red Warriors prior to moving down South. But JDT fans should take this one performance in isolation.
Ghaddar didn't lose his qualities as a striker by moving to a new team. There's an adaptation period needed and if in his first ever game with 10 other new team mates and playing in a style of football that is completely different to what he's attuned with - and he still continues to be the main goal-scoring threat, it's a sign of good things to come.
The Lebanese will not feature for the JDT when they go for their consecutive away game in that AFC Cup ASEAN zone semi-final against Ceres-Negros FC next week but with a month of bedding in, fans can surely look forward to when the domestic league return on 1 July to see an acclimatised Ghaddar back amongst the goals.
Fans might even see him inflict some pain on Malaysia when Ghaddar and his Lebanon team play Malaysia in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifier on 13 June in what is now his home stadium, Tan Sri Hj Hassan Yunos Stadium in Johor Bahru.