On paper, Johor Darul Ta'zim fared one better than what they managed in the semi-final of the Malaysia Cup last season against the same opponent in Terengganu FC. In 2018, they lost the first leg at Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium and drew the second leg to get knocked out of the competition.
This time around, the Super League champions managed to get a 1-0 win thanks to a superb Diogo Luis Santo strike in the first half to not only claim a vital lead in the quarterfinal tie but also found themselves a precious away goal to add to their advantage going into next weekend's second leg at Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium
As someone who is well aware of the pitfalls that comes with being overconfident, Benjamin Mora knows that if JDT are to progress through to the semi-final of this year's competition, they will have to reproduce the solid performance that they showed on Saturday.
"For now of course very satisfied with the performance of my players. Fantastic job in every way. In the defensive phase, we were very accurate in not allowing Terengganu to do their things. In the attacking phase, the quality that we have allowed us to score and that is very important to us.
"We're very happy but thinking already of the second leg because this is not finished yet. We know we cannot give any space for Terengganu to feel free so we're going to train and try to repeat the very good game that we did today (Saturday). But of course we have to keep improving in everything because football is unperfect," said Mora after the match.
The match saw the return of star striker Diogo, his first appearance since the international break, having already missed out on matches against Petaling Jaya City FC as well as UiTM FC. Syafiq Ahmad had done well in his stead but the Malaysian international dropped to the bench in favour of the Brazilian for this crucial first leg.
JDT had a couple of opportunities to increase their lead in the tie, especially through Safawi Rasid when he twice beat Wan Azraie Wan Teh but saw his shot either hitting the post or cleared off the line by a recovering defender. However, The Southern Tigers will be in a very confident mood heading into return leg knowing this time, they are the ones holding all the cards.
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