Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) head coach Mario Gomez has paid tribute to his side after they created history by becoming the first Malaysian team to win a continental competition when they triumphed in the AFC Cup.
JDT secured a 1-0 victory over Tajikistan champions FC Istiklol in Saturday's tournament finale at the Republican Central Stadium in Dushanbe, with a first-half goal from Leandro Velazquez enough to claim the silverware.
Leandro's goal came after JDT had found themselves under significant pressure in the early stages of the match, and Gomez has lauded his team's efforts for weathering the storm and coming out on top.
“I am happy with my players tonight,” said Gomez. “We created history for Malaysian football in the AFC Cup. We worked a lot and claimed the trophy.
“It was a good match and a great atmosphere in the stadium. Istiklol showed their attacking football. They had some chances in the first minutes, but we changed the game after it.”
He added: “Our goalkeeper and our defenders played well when Istiklol created pressure. I think the players followed their instructions well and I’m proud that we have this victory.”
The victory writes the names of the JDT class of 2015 in the record books, and it's an achievement that will long be celebrated in Malaysia, with State secretary Datuk Ismail Karim, who is also the Johor FA president, declaring Sunday a public holiday in the region.