Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) head coach Benjamin Mora has drawn parallels between the club’s first-ever win in the AFC Champions League against Kashima Antlers and Liverpool’s historic comeback win over Barcelona in Europe.
The Malaysia Super League club had defeated the 2018 ACL champions Kashima in the fifth group game of their debut Asian Champions League campaign at the Larkin Stadium the other day.
“We talked about the importance of making history, to be the first Malaysian team to win an ACL game, and that too coming against the reigning champions Kashima,” said Mora after the game (via New Straits Times).
AFC Champions League 2019: Johor Darul Ta’zim 1-0 Kashima Antlers (Syafiq Ahmad 69′)
“Japanese football is top of Asia, they play so good and have very good players. But I told the boys that they didn’t have anything to lose, only win,” said the former Mexican footballer.
“This is a reminder that things are possible, just like Liverpool did (against Barcelona). Football is the best sport in the world and these things can happen,” he said referring to Barcelona’s 4-3 aggregate win over Barca in the UEFA Champions League semifinals where they overturned a three-goal first-leg deficit in the second leg held at Anfield.
JDT still sit bottom of Group E despite collecting their first three points in the ACL. However, they still have a slight chance to progress if they defeat Gyeongnam in the final group game on May 22 and also Kashima are beaten by Shandong Luneng.
View this post on Instagram
The Malaysian side defeated Kashima Antlers in ACL by 1-0 in order to achieve this feat. At Rank 32, @officialjohor beat Ceres Negros (33), Buriram United (36) and Muangthong United (43). 🔥 🔥 🔥 .. .. .. #afc #asianfootballers #asianfootball #malaysiafootball #malaysia #malaysiasuperleague #malaysiacup #footballtime #football #footballfacts #footballlegend #footballhistory #sportshistory #news #ASEANfootballclubs #rankins #latestrankings #jdt #buriramunited #ceresnegros
On the domestic front, the Southern Tigers will face second-placed Pahang FA on Tuesday hoping to extend their lead at the top of the Malaysia Super League to eight points with a win.