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Malaysia Cup

Diogo remains a big doubt for Selangor-JDT second leg

4:47 AM EDT 10/20/19
Diogo Luis Santo, PJ City FC v Johor Darul Ta'zim
Exceptional Diogo Luis Santo will be assessed in the coming days to see if he will be able to feature in the Malaysia Cup semi-final at Shah Alam.

Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) showed that despite the inavailability of star striker Diogo, they still had what it takes to edge out Selangor 2-1 in the first leg encounter at Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium on Saturday. However the match must have felt a little too close for comfort for The Southern Tigers what with the second leg being away at Shah Alam Stadium.

The former Buriram United forward is still undergoing observation with the start of next week being key to decide if he could play a part to help JDT reach their second Malaysia Cup final in three seasons. His replacement in the first leg Syafiq Ahmad did manage to grab a goal in the process but provided noticeable difference for head coach Benjamin Mora.

"I don't know. I have to wait until Monday to see the report of the evolution. We don't know for 100% certain. It doesn't affect, it doesn't help but it's a different way because Syafiq Ahmad is a different player. Syafiq is a little bit more false nine that likes to go to the runs in diagonal more than Diogo who like to drop a little bit more to have more control of the ball. 

"Syafiq is more like a second striker. He scored so it's only different. We missed Diogo of course, he's a foreign player. I'll be lying if I tell you that we don't miss him but it doesn't affect what we do. We are a collective team, we don't depend on Diogo," explained Mora in the post-match press conference.

Syafiq along with Safawi Rasid, Aidil Zafuan, La'Vere Corbin-Ong, Farizal Marlias, Syamer Kutty Abba, Akhyar Rashid and Adam Nor Azlin were the players who went away with the Malaysia national team during the international break while Hariss Harun did the same for Singapore.

Safawi in particular looked a pale of shadow of his usual self in the first leg, where his movement and general contribution dipped largely because he looked dead on his feet. Mora accepted that the left footer is not in his best physical form and it will be down to the club staff to work Safawi back to better state in a week's time.

"He was tired. It was load of many minutes and game over JDT and national team. That is what it is. They have to go to represent their countries and they have to work for the team. They are humans and they get tired and we have to try to bring them down in the loads. For now they know what to do tactically so we have to take care of them," added Mora.

 

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@official_kedahfa ikat @officialpahangfa dengan jaringan lewat @zaqone_08 manakala gol 🔥Leandro bantu @officialjohor menang tipis atas @faselangormy . Late Zaquan header helped Kedah to hold Pahang while a Leandro thunderbolt gave JDT a slim win over Selangor. . #PialaMalaysia2019 #MalaysiaCup2019 #JDT #Selangor #Kedah #Pahang #Zaquan #NorAzam #Velazquez #Ifedayo

A post shared by Goal Malaysia (@goal_malaysia) on Oct 19, 2019 at 9:20am PDT