Pahang FA failed to make home advantage count as they were held to a goalless draw by Johor Darul Ta’zim in their Malaysia FA Cup quarterfinal first leg contest.
Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) will be aiming to put Pahang to the sword in the Malaysia FA Cup quarterfinal second leg, after they held the home side to a goalless draw in Kuantan on Friday.
Both teams had met at the same stage of the competition last year, which Pahang edged 4-3 over two legs.
JDT and Pahang are also frontrunners in the Malaysia Super League in first and second respectively, so expectations were high for another cracking contest.
But this match got off to a slow start at a capacity Darul Makmur Stadium, and it took almost 25 minutes for the first opportunity to arrive.
It fell to JDT forward Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, who connected with a half volley which flew wide.
The Southern Tigers came even closer six minutes before the end of the first half, as Safiq Rahim’s free kick thumped the crossbar.
The first half ended goalless, and the fans were begging for a goal to add colour to the vociferous atmosphere.
Pahang playmaker Nor Azam Azih came close to breaking the deadlock in the 52nd minute, but somehow shanked his effort just wide.
17 minutes later, The Elephants thought they had scored, but Mohamadou Sumareh’s effort was ruled offside.
Dollah Salleh’s men continued to pile on the pressure in the dying stages of the match, but JDT kept them at bay until the final whistle.
The result favours the visitors ahead of the second leg at their fortress Larkin Stadium in a fortnight’s time, but Pahang will also fancy their chances if they find crucial away goals.
The other FA Cup first leg fixtures takes place on Saturday, with Kuala Lumpur-Selangor headlining the weekend ties.
PKNS FC host Perak at the Shah Alam Stadium, while PKNP FC also welcome the visit of Felda United.