Longhi’s JDT reign begins with Song Lam Nghe An defeat

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Raul Longhi’s first game in charge of Johor Darul Ta’zim ended in defeat on Wednesday as they were beaten 2-0 by Song Lam Nghe An in AFC Cup Group H.

Unfortunately for JDT, it was arguably a fitting conclusion to a tumultuous few days which started with Ulisses Morais stepping down as coach abruptly, and followed by the equally sudden departure of star forward Jorge Pereyra Diaz.

Instead, it is the V.League 1 outfit who now sit pretty on top of Group H following an impressive win at the Vinh Stadium, which was kick-started by Phan Van Duc’s 22nd-minute opener.

Ho Khac Ngoc was the creator as he played a visionary ball over the top of the opposition defence, but Van Duc also deserved credit for an excellent late run in behind the line, before keeping his composure to bring the ball down, skip around Farizal Marlias and finish into the unguarded net.

JDT did muster a response and actually enjoyed plenty of possession despite being the visitors, but were just lacking a cutting edge in the final third despite the best efforts of Luciano Figueroa, Safiq Rahim and Safawi Rasid.

And, in the end, SLNA made sure of the victory in the fourth minute of injury-time as they hit their opponents on the counter; Le The Cuong racing down the right before cutting the ball back for Pham Xuan Manh to clinically fire past Farizal.

The result guarantees that Song Lam Nghe An will enter next week’s third round of group-stage fixtures on top of the pile, while Darul Ta’zim could find themselves level with either Persija Jakarta or Bali United, who play each other later on Wednesday.

SONG LAM NGHE AN: Le Van Hung, Pham Xuan Manh, Que Ngoc Hai, Hoang Van Khanh, Vo Ngoc Duc, Ngo Xuan Toan (Le The Cuong 63’), Ho Khac Ngoc, Ho Sy Sam (Le Manh Dung 90+4’), Phan Van Duc, Ho Tuan Tai (Ho Phuc Tinh 87’), Michael Olaha.

JOHOR DARUL TA’ZIM: Farizal Marlias, S. Kunanlan, Hariss Harun, Fadhli Shas, La’Vere Corbin-Ong, Afiq Fazail (Aidil Zafuan 40’), Natxo Insa, Safiq Rahim, Safawi Rasid, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri (Syafiq Ahmad 58’), Luciano Figueroa.

Photo credit: Johor Darul Ta’zim FC