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AFC Champions League

Mora proud of magnificent JDT achievement

2:00 PM SGT 9/5/19
Hariss Harun, Johor Darul Ta'zim v Kashima Antlers, AFC Champions League, 8 May 2019
The Johor Darul Ta'zim head coach was extremely proud of every single of of his players after the club broke new grounds in the ACL.

First time participants in the AFC Champions League group stage but already making the biggest splash one could do as JDT triumphed 1-0 over defending champions Kashima Antlers to become the first ever Malaysian team to do so since the competition was introduced in 2002. 

Kashima had their chances throughout the match but it wasn't just a lucky win for the Malaysian champions as they more than played their part in the match. Dominating the ball possession, only poor decision making in the final third prevented JDT from scoring earlier.

Despite the win, JDT are still bottom of Group E with four points and will need a minor miracle to go through to the Round of 16 but for Benjamin Mora, what was achieved on the night will stay with them for a very long time.

"We talked about the importance of making history, to be the first Malaysian team to win a game in the ACL versus a great champion that is Kashima. Japanese football are top of Asia, they played so good and have very good players. But I told the boys that they didn't have anything to lose, only win.

"This is a reminder that things are possible, just like Liverpool did (against Barcelona). Football is the best sport in the world and these things can happen. Maybe tomorrow we'll think about Pahang but for now we're going to enjoy," said Mora in the post-match press conference.

In the match, Mora had to do without suspended star striker Diogo Luis Santo, who had already scored twice in the competition for JDT. In his stead came Syafiq Ahmad, producing a different sort of role in the number 9 position compared to what Diogo normally does.

Excellent on the ball and comfortable in any position in the attacking third, Syafiq's contribution proved crucial to JDT's cause not least because he found the winning goal. Mora was effusive in his praise for Syafiq's performance and is hoping the 24-year-old can start to give Diogo a run for his money.

"Syafiq did a great job as a striker. He is not a natural striker but more of a false nine, second striker or even playing on the wings. He's a very complete player and he showed that even without Diogo, he can do a job and gave JDT a great victory with his goal.

"We miss Diogo every time he doesn't play but when Syafiq plays like this, we don't miss him too much," added Mora.

 

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