Analysis

5 reasons why JDT won the MSL ... again, for a record 5th straight time

Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) have flexed their muscles in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) yet again, after winning for the fifth consecutive time with four league matches still left to play. Judging by the way they have dominated the league so comprehensively, the league organizers may consider already carving their name to the trophy for the 2019 season. But winning a marathon like the MSL is no mean feat, and here are some ways how JDT achieved it to ultimately book an automatic berth to the 2019 AFC Champions League.

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The Southern Tigers have an impenetrable defence

A team does not win league titles simply by scoring goals for fun, they must be strong defensively as well and JDT have been a brick wall. To date, they have only conceded seven league goals. That includes 11 clean sheets in 18 matches. 11.
They achieved this with almost the same backline as last season. The combination of Farizal Marlias, S. Kunanlan, Marcos Antonio, Aidil Zafuan, Fadhli Shas and Corbin-Ong have been magnificent all season with their understanding and high awareness of each other’s positioning. This defence has developed into a fort that does not crumble easily.

Safawi Rasid has turned into a goalscoring machine

JDT have always emphasized they are not a one-man team, and success is achieved collectively. But like it or not, this team has revolved around the powerful presence of Safawi Rasid on many occasions.

Not often can a local player claim bragging rights in front of goal, but Safawi can do that after scoring 11 goals so far. He is now their leading goalscorer in a team that have always produced proven foreign hitman like Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Juan Martin Lucero.

Playing from the right flank allows this Terengganu-born to drift in whenever he needs to. When he unleashes that powerful left foot, it often spells danger. Safawi has grown tremendously as a player this year and it has reflected in the team’s performances too.