Johor pummel Lao Toyota

Johor Darul Ta’zim secured their place in the last 16 of the AFC Cup on Wednesday after they recorded an emphatic 4-1 victory away from home against Lao Toyota FC.

The win sees Johor remain at the top of Group H with 12 points from four games. With 16 goals for and only two against, it would take nothing short of a miracle for one of Bengaluru FC or Ayeyawady United to replace the defending champions at the summit of the group in the coming weeks. Lao are now in fourth position with three points and are unlikely to advance in the competition.

While the final score line was flattering, Johor certainly never had it all their own way.

After dominating the opening exchanges, Lao took a deserved lead in the 42nd minute when Phatthana Syvilay curled a stunning free-kick to the left of keeper Izham Tarmizi after Jasazrin Jamaluddin had fouled Sitthideth Khanthavong in a dangerous position.

The home side would hold onto that advantage until the half-time break.

However, Mario Gomez must have had some choice words for his side during the interval as they came out with a new-found intensity in the second half that Lao simply could not live with.

Johor were awarded a penalty almost immediately after the restart when Saynakkhonevieng Phommapanya upended Amri Yahyah as he surged into the penalty area from the left. Safee Sali was clinical from the spot as he equalised for his team.

Johor went 2-1 up when Fadhli Shas hit the back of the net at the second time of asking from close range on 65 minutes after Vathana Keodouangdeth had blocked Yahyah’s initial effort.

In the 77th minute the game was wrapped up when Yahyah cut inside from the left and fired a rocket from outside the box into the back of the net.

Pereyra Diaz then got in on the fun five minutes later when he dribbled into the area before guiding an angled low effort into the bottom left corner.