AFC Champions League 2019: Safawi stunner cannot save JDT from Shandong loss

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Safawi Rasid netted a stunner for Johor Darul Ta’zim but was unable to prevent his side from losing 2-1 to Shandong Luneng in AFC Champions League 2019 on Tuesday evening.

Former Manchester United man Marouane Fellaini put the hosts ahead at the Jinan Olympic Sports Center Stadium on the half-hour mark, showing good strength to hold off La’Vere Corbin-Ong at the near post to head home an excellent corner from Hao Junmin.

AFC Champions League 2019: Shandong Luneng 1-0 Johor Darul Ta’zim (Marouane Fellaini 30′)

Another ex-Premier League star then doubled Shandong’s advantage nine minutes later when he fired past Farizal Marlias from the penalty spot, after the Italian striker had been brought down inside the area by Aidil Zafuan.

AFC Champions League 2019: Shandong Luneng 2-0 Johor Darul Ta’zim (Graziano Pelle 39′)

Despite trailing by two goals, JDT showed plenty of endeavour after halftime in a bid to get back into the contest, and they deservingly pulled one back in the 60th minute.

AFC Champions League 2019: Shandong Luneng 2-1 JDT (Safawi Rasid 59′)

Cutting inside onto his trusty left foot, Safawi proceeded to unleash a stunning curling effort that dipped beyond Wang Dalei’s despairing dive into the far corner.

And, in the fourth minute of injury-time, the visitors were terribly unlucky not to force the draw when Gonzalo Cabrera lined up a freekick on the edge of the box, only to see a fine effort come back off the bar as Shandong held on for the win.

SHANDONG LUNENG: Wang Dalei, Zhang Chi (Cui Peng 88’), Dai Lin, Gil, Zheng Zheng, Marouane Fellaini, Hao Junmin, Jin Jingdao, Liu Binbin (Zhou Haibin 57’), Wu Xinghan (Wang Tong 80’), Graziano Pelle.

JOHOR DARUL TA’ZIM: Farizal Marlias, S. Kunanlan, Mauricio, Aidil Zafuan, La’Vere Corbin-Ong, Hariss Harun, Nazmi Faiz (Akhyar Rashid 63’), Afiq Fazail, Safawi Rasid (Syafiq Ahmad 87’), Gonzalo Cabrera, Diogo.