Johor Darul Ta’zim dropped their first point at the new Sultan Ibrahim Stadium after a spirited Felda United came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw.
Whenever a team moved from their old stadium to their new one, there’s always a transition period required before the new arena feels like home, just ask Arsenal. Yet JDT have won their opening three matches at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium with Kedah, Suwon Bluewings and UiTM FC all left defeated. More of the same was expected when Felda United came to town but quite the opposite happened.
Felda earned a very creditable draw against the reigning Super League champions who dominated large parts of the game but found Muhaimin Mohamad to be in magnificent form, on top of their own lack of finishing in front of goal. Syafiq Ahmad put the home side ahead in the 21st minute in his first start of the season but JDT just could not press home their advantage.
Playing without fans in attendance as precaution against the coronavirus, Benjamin Mora even had to call upon teenager Arif Aiman late on to try and push the team to victory but to no avail. Diogo Luis Santo, Gonzalo Cabrera and Fadhli Shas all had presentable chances to add to the score but couldn’t which left Mora a little bit frustrated.
“It’s not a good night for JDT, we don’t like to draw and we don’t like to lose. But of course there’s always those possibilities when we don’t performed to the way that we should do. We controlled the game, we did a good job collectively but we didn’t score goals. And when you don’t score goals in football, any mistake you have you pay the consequence and that’s what happened.
“There’s no excuse. There’s no reason why we couldn’t have had the three points. We need to keep on working on the decision making and be more efficient in the last third. Also I think we didn’t pressed and the pressure wasn’t as 100% as other games. We need to improve and change a little bit our approach to these kind of games and try to get the results further up,” said Mora after the match.
Felda fought their way back with a very well-worked goal in the 51st minute when Ryutaro Megumi, Nicolas Velez and Frederic Bulot all combined to finish a flowing move that cut open JDT’s defence completely. The former French junior international Bulot had the simplest of task of tapping home into an empty net.
But JDT roared into contention immediately and after forcing Muhaimin into making several good saves, were awarded a penalty before the hour mark when Ariff Farhan handled Nazmi Faiz’z free kick. Cabrera step up to face Muhaimin and the latter emerged victorious, tipping over the JDT winger’s effort which earned him high praise from head coach Nidzam Jamil.
“Every local team who comes out of JDT with a point have to be happy. I’m very happy for my team. Just that we have a few things to change. When JDT went 1-0 up in the first half, we went into our shell a little bit when we should have been a bit more attacking. In the second half we made use of the space behind their backline and we did it.
“Coincidentally, he’s (Muhaimin) has won against JDT before with his previous club and he did really well in this game. We prepared for their penalties and you have to be happy when what you prepared for, worked. He had a great game and hopefully he can carry that form forward in the future,” said Nidzam after the match.
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