Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) ended the Malaysia Super League (MSL) with a 2-0 victory over Kuala Lumpur FA, thanks to a brace from Fernando Marquez. The Southern Tigers were thoroughly comfortable in their victory and strolled to their 22nd league victory.
It will take some effort from the chasing pack to dethrone the league champions, who are breaking every records on their way to silverware.
Nicolas Anil highlights some of the observations from JDT’s final league game of the season.
Fernando Marquez settling to life in JDT
The Argentine forward arrived in Johor with high regards, having left the Argentina Premira Division as the top five goalscorers. But Marquez has not been consistent for the Southern Tigers, having been guilty of wasting clear cut chances. This wasn’t the case on Saturday. The 30-year-old had a goal wrongly disallowed before his brace on either half. Marquez’s work-rate was also exceptional and he was versatile as a target man, or as the link-up player for JDT’s penetration through the flanks. Marquez finishes the league with six goals, and he will be confident of making a bigger impact when the Malaysia Cup kicks off.
KL lack quality without Guilherme and Indra
Without two of their most influential players, Kuala Lumpur didn’t really have the quality to trouble JDT. Zaquan Adha was tasked at the lone forward, and despite his high energy levels to close down the opponents defence, couldn’t do much without any quality assistance. This is where Guilherme De Paula and Indra Putra Mahayuddin would have made a major difference. The Brazilian’s speed and knack for important goals would have unsettled JDT, while Indra’s experience and ability to dictate the midfield was sorely missed. Without the duo, Hariss Harun was allowed to marshall the centre of the park with ease and JDT goalkeeper Farizal Marlias was barely troubled.
JDT only conceded one goal at home
Victory meant Farizal has kept 14 clean sheets all season. That is no surprise considering the fact the Southern Tigers have only conceded nine goals. But more interestingly, the Larkin Stadium will be an even tougher fortress to breach after this season. This is because JDT have only conceded one goal at home in the league all season. The only player to score against JDT at Larkin in the MSL was former Kedah FA striker Pablo Pallares in the 2-1 Charity Shield victory in the first game of the season. A team who doesn’t concede in 10 home matches is championship material any day. Raul Longhi’s men will now be looking forward to taking this impeccable home form to the Malaysia Cup.
Photo Credit: Johor DT