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Malaysia Cup

Mora heaps praise on maturing Afiq after win over PJ City

2:28 AM EDT 8/8/19
Afiq Fazail, Johor Darul Ta'zim v Petaling Jaya City FC, Malaysia Cup, 7 Aug 2019
Afiq Fazail starred as JDT won their second straight match in the Malaysia Cup group stage but not before a major scare being provided by PJ City FC.

The 4-2 win over Petaling Jaya City FC gives Johor Darul Ta'zim maximum points after two rounds of matches and looks on course to secure a place in the knockout stage of the 2019 Malaysia Cup. Goals from Safawi Rasid (6') and Diogo Luis Santo (47') put the home side into a comfortable lead but the visitors roared back strongly after that.

Washington Brandao (59') and R. Barathkumar (70') completely changed the mood at Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium as PJ City clawed back from two goals down to level things at 2-2. But instead of continuing to keep JDT at bay, they allowed the Super League champions back into the lead just 180 seconds later.

Diogo got his second in the 72nd minute before Gonzalo Cabrera swept home a grounder in the 80th minute to seal all three points for JDT. Head coach Benjamin Mora was left with mixed emotions after the match but still praise his players for recovering from the shock of being pegged back.

"We are happy for the result at the end. Three points was always comfortable at the end. But we still have to look at the details and improve some situations where we complicated ourselves. The players knew that they have to overcome the difficulty of the situation during some period. The goals we conceded were a confidence boost for them and they try to take advantage but our team were strong enough after that.

"Afiq has grown a lot. Very much, he has become a more complete player. Before he was struggling a little bit in man-to-man and defensive phase. But now he's aggressive and he wins challenge. With the ball, he's excellent. He knows what to do because he understands the game. He's a very intelligent player. He's going to grow even more and we're lucky to have him in the squad," said Mora in the post-match press conference.

The win offers some redemption for JDT against PJ City, the side that prevented them from finishing the 2019 Malaysia Super League unbeaten when the latter won at the same venue back in the middle of July. K. Devan's side has proven to be a difficult team for JDT to face as they had also won in the Malaysia Cup last year albeit then under the MISC-MIFA name.

After two rounds of matches, JDT are the only team in Group B with a 100% record with PJ City in second place with three points. The two other remaining teams in the group are UiTM FC and PKNP FC, who will face each other later today.

 

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