2014 Malaysia Cup team preview: Johor Darul Takzim

As the newly crowned Super League champions, JDT will be the heavy favourites to win this year's Malaysia Cup.

Johor Darul Takzim

Home Ground: Larkin Stadium, Johor Bahru

Nickname: The Southern Tigers

Premier League: 1st

FA Cup: Semi-finals

Last Season's Malaysia Cup: Quarter-finals

What happened in the league?

The star-studded side finally fulfilled their potential by lifting the Super League title on the final day, capping a fine run of winning nine, drawing once and losing once after Bojan Hodak replaced Cesar Ferrando in April, with a 1-0 win over Selangor before a capacity crowd at Shah Alam Stadium in May being the turning point. The win cut the Red Giants’ lead from five to two points, forcing the issue down the wire and eventually allowing JDT to win the title with a three-point gap.

The perception

The all-star team to beat, a team that by right must take on the best Asia can offer.

The reality

They are beatable, as ATM can proudly claim, but on their day, JDT have the ability to steamroll past any opponents.

Credit: Nizam Rahman / www.asiana.my

Strengths

A stellar line-up with the who’s who in local football allied with model professional Luciano Figueroa and Jorge Pereyra Diaz proving to be a deadly duo.!

Weaknesses

Take out Figueroa and Diaz from the equation and JDT may lack the inspiration to create.

The player to watch

Signed from Lanus in April, Diaz replaced Pablo Aimar in the team and quickly adjusted to life in the M-League, netting eight goals in eight matches including the solitary strike against Sarawak that guaranteed JDT’s maiden league title. With his unique dribbling technique and ability to provide assists, Diaz remains a handful for any defence.

The boss

Bojan Hodak has the Midas touch that brought Kelantan the treble in 2012. With his knowledge of local football the Croatian has transformed JDT’s fortunes. After beng the head coach role, his team climbed to the top of the table from sixth in the standings, accumulating 28 points out of a possible 33 en route to the league title. Managing an array of highly paid stars that warm the bench is never easy, but Bojan has done well thus far to command respect from his players. 

Group stage fixtures

Aug 13 – Kelantan (H)

Aug 19 – ATM (H)

Aug 22 – Penang (A)

Aug 26 – Penang (H)

Aug 29 – ATM (A)

Sep 2 – Kelantan (A)