A full-strength Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) signaled their intent to finish the Malaysia Super League (MSL) on a high after they brushed aside Kedah FA 2-1 on Friday, thanks to goals from Gonzalo Cabrera and Fernando Marquez.
Both sides finished this ill-tempered match with 10-man, but the Southern Tigers will barely mind after achieving their 16th victory in 19 matches.
JDT were expected to give their young players a run out after clinching a fifth consecutive league title on Tuesday by defeating Perak FA 2-1, but head coach Raul Longhi fielded a strong line-up that included Fernando Marquez, Safawi Rasid and Cabrera.
Fernando Elizari fashioned the first chance of the match in the 16th minute, but his first touch failed him and Kedah were let off the hook.
But the immaculate Argentine playmaker played provider just five minutes later, laying on the perfect cross from Cabrera to finish home.
The opening goal was Cabrera’s ninth of the league so far, and his 20th league strike in JDT colours.
Longhi’s men extended their lead just 17 minutes through Marquez, who finished home Azrif Nasrulhaq’s delivery.
Marquez is developing into a player who performs in away games, having scored three goals in his last four matches on the road.
Corbin-Ong conceded a penalty in the second half and ultimately received his marching orders, leaving Kedah with a lifeline from the penalty spot.
But JDT goalkeeper Farizal Marlias, as he had done all season, produced another outstanding save by denying Paulo Rangel from the penalty spot.
A floodlight malfunction delayed proceedings for almost 15-minutes, and it proved the end for Rangel who received a red card after the match resumed.
Sandro Da Silva pulled a goal back for Kedah 12-minutes from time from the penalty spot, but it proved too little too late for the hosts who slumped to their second consecutive loss.
The win meant JDT have amassed a whopping 19-point lead in the MSL, having played a game more.
Other matches taking place on Saturday will see Kelantan host Melaka United FA, Negeri Sembilan FA take on PKNP FC, Perak FA taking on Pahang FA and PKNS FC facing Terengganu FA.
Photo Credit: Johor DT