JOHOR BAHRU: Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) went to the top of Group H after easily defeating Indonesian club Persija Jakarta 3-0 in the AFC Cup match played at Larkin Stadium yesterday.
For the match, JDT coach Ulisses Morais gave the nod for Farizal Marlias to make his first appearance in goal after completing his suspension period meted out by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
In fact, there were tactical changes carried out by the Portuguese coach as well as he fielded Singaporean Hariss Harun to partner Fadhli Shas in defense as Marcos Antonio was rested because the Brazilian central defender had not recovered from injury.
The home side went on the offensive from the get go and almost scored as early as the third minute after captain Syafiq Rahim’s free-kick from the left caused chaos for Stefano Cugurra’s defense.
However, the ball which was headed towards goal by Fadhli hit the post as goalkeeper Andritany Ardhiyasa was clearly beaten.
JDT opened the scoring in the 29th minute when a move from the middle initiated by Argentine forward Jorge Pereyra Diaz resulted in an unmarked Ahmad Hazwan Bakri moving in to score pass a hapless Andritany.
Diaz then got in on the scoring himself and was in his element as he sprinted pass Persija’s offside trap in the 41st minute and drew Andritany off his line to score JDT’s second goal.
In the second half, an ever present Diaz almost scored his second goal in the 54th minute after winning possession from Persija’s defense though his shot was parried by Andritany.
Persija began to try to get back into the match by orchestrating attacking moves in search of a goal but their best effort which resulted in Addison Alves getting the ball in the back of the net was disallowed by Qatari referee Saoud Ali as the Brazilian forward was offside.
The hosts kept the pressure on the visitors and in the 75th minute a through pass by Diaz was met by substitute Safawi Rasid who unleashed a thundering shot from outside the six yard box to make it 3-0 in JDT’s favour as the scoreline remained till the final whistle.