No matter how one looks at it, for JDT to struggle to overcome Super League newcomers UiTM FC at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium definitely do not speak of a good performance. But over the course of a 22-game league season, there will be ups and downs, what will be vital for the reigning champions is that they do end up collecting all the points when it is the latter, which they did in the 2-1 win.
Diogo Luis Santo had put his team ahead early on but defensive mistake allowed UiTM to equalise through Victor Nirennold to go into half time all square. Starting in his second straight match, Nazmi Faiz who had already laid on two assists against Suwon Bluewings in midweek, was decisive again in scoring the winner midway through the second half.
JDT's head coach Benjamin Mora points to the fact that this being JDT's third game in seven days as part of the reasoning behind the less than satisfactory performance but remained proud that his charges dug deep to find the necessary win and remained with Melaka the only two teams left with a 100% record in the league.
"The most important is the win, the victory and the three points. But I have to tell you that we cannot always be perfect and excellent like last game. We have an opponent in front of us who wants to win the game all the time. These kind of teams like UiTM who didn't have nothing to lose and they did a good job sitting back and fighting.
"We started very good but after minute 20 we were not precise in the passing. We missed some of the passes and caused us some trouble. But it wasn't that big a trouble because had we scored those one-on-ones, then it is a different story. We're gonna have games like this. We cannot always be devastating, that's football," said Mora after the match.
One thing which could not escape any watching eye was the absence of Safawi Rasid not only from the starting line-up but also from the bench. The forward had been an ever-present member of the first team and even on occasions where his fitness was not at 100%, he was still involved in the team.
But his conspicious absence yesterday could be down to the public spat that went on in the aftermath of the win over Suwon in the AFC Champions League. However, there's no reason to suggest that this will be a permanent arrangement. It will be interesting to see if he does get involve again soon as JDT will travel up to Kuala Lumpur to face PDRM on 10 March.
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