Johor Darul Ta’zim tactician Raul Longhi lamented his team’s defensive errors for their shock home loss to Pahang in the FA Cup quarterfinals.
Johor Darul Ta’zim were dealt a shock defeat at the Larkin Stadium by Pahang FA on Friday night to send them crashing out of the Malaysia FA Cup.
Carrying a goalless first-leg result back home to Larkin, JDT were expected to get a positive result and make it into the final four only for a Patrick Cruz hat-trick to thwart their hopes of cup glory.
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Head Coach Longhi went with Gonzalo Cabrera, Safawi Rasid and Ahmad Hazwan Bakri in attack, but admitted that the loss of foreign strike duo Luciano Figueroa and Jorge Pereyra Diaz was a big factor.
“We are well aware that we have problems in attack after the loss of Diaz and Figueroa. We had no choice but to play the players we have until the transfer window reopens.” Longhi said on JDT’s Facebook page.
While the attacking portion of play was an issue, JDT’s heavy defeat which saw them lose at home for the first time since 2015 was also down to defensive lapses at the back.
Longhi added: “The match was not helped by our defensive players making two simple mistakes. The second goal changed everything when our defenders made a mistake of keeping the ball for too long, allowing the opponents a chance to score.
“When the attack is not doing well, the defence should balance it out by playing better. But when the attack loses its bite and the defence makes simple mistakes, then the game is already lost. Now we need to give our full focus to the league challenge.”
The Southern Tigers will now focus on the Malaysia Super League and Malaysia Cup and with promises of new foreign imports joining the team in the May transfer window, Johor fans have every reason to be optimistic.
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Crown Prince of Johor, HRH Major General Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim was quick to send a reminder of the similarity between the previous campaign and the current edition.
“And just a gentle reminder, last year we lost the Charity Shield and also the FA Cup, but we went on to win the League as well as the Malaysia Cup,” said Tunku Ismail.
“This year we won the Charity Shield and have bowed out of the FA Cup, but we still have the league and the Malaysia Cup to play for.
“So my advise is to always focus on the positive sides and ignore the negativities. Remember that in life, it can’t rain all the time. In every dark night, there’s a bright day so keep your head up and keep smiling JDT Family.”
Photo credit: Johor Southern Tigers Facebook