The Premier League’s draw-specialists won a play-off to reach the group stages, where they will look to prove that they are not there to just make up the numbers.
Johor Darul Takzim II
Home Ground: Pasir Gudang Stadium, Johor Bahru
Nickname: The Southern Tigers
Premier League: 5th
FA Cup: First Round
Last Season's Malaysia Cup: Group stages (as Johor)
What happened in the league?
JDT II’s first half of the season was inconsistent (15 points from a possible 33), but their form picked up in the second half as they went unbeaten in their last nine matches. Impressively, JDT II lost only one home game, but drew the most matches in the division (eight) to finish fifth.
JDT II are the JDT of the Premier League, with star players like Singapore captain Shahril Ishak, ex-Real Zaragoza striker Braulio Nóbrega Rodriguez, and national player Zaquan Adha.
JDT II are JDT’s development side. Their role is to give promising youngsters regular first-team football, being guided by experienced pros like Shahril and Braulio. Most of the players are below 25 years old. As such, they struggled to compete with other Premier League sides and six of their nine league wins came against the eventual bottom three.
The Southern Tigers are a good defensive unit, keeping seven clean sheets, which was the joint-highest in the Premier League. Further up the pitch, Shahril and Aznie Taib combined well to support Braulio, sharing 18 goals between them.
The young players’ inexperience costs them sometimes, and they are often too reliant on several key players to pull them through. Besides the big names, there are not many other sources for goals.
The player to watch
Shahril Ishak. Despite only scoring four league goals, the Singapore captain is the most influential player at the club, with most of their goals involving him. Deployed in a roving role behind Braulio, Shahril is free to drop deep or push forward as he wishes.
The Johor managerial carousel placed Cesar Ferrando Jimenez in charge of JDT II in April after he was demoted from JDT. His first game was a loss to PDRM, but he subsequently led JDT II on the unbeaten run punctuated by draws, just missing out on the last automatic spot for the Malaysia Cup by three points.
Group stage fixtures
Aug 13 – Pahang (A)
Aug 19 – Felda United (A)
Aug 22 – LionsXII (H)
Aug 26 – LionsXII (A)
Aug 29 – Felda United (H)
Sept 2 – Pahang (H)