AFC Cup Talking Points: The midfield trio and a quiet stadium

Johor Darul Ta’zim’s (JDT) 3-0 win over Boeung Ket Angkor on Tuesday was made easier with the efficiency of their midfield. Vijhay Vick highlights five talking points from the AFC Cup opener. 

Midfield trio ruled Larkin

The engine room axis of skipper Safiq Rahim, Nazmi Faiz Mansor and Afiq Fazail provided the platform to JDT’s win against the Cambodian league champions.

Their work-rate were second to none on the pitch and with bags of creativity in each of their armoury, the trio moved the ball, found space and got into good positions.

The more senior Safiq enjoyed more space than he has had in previous matches this season as Nazmi and Afiq complemented the captain. Afiq sat deep behind the pair, showing maturity and discipline for a 22-year-old.

Guerra a key piece, but JDT not being dependent

 guerra.jpg

Guerra has been a revelation for JDT but the Southern Tigers have to count on others too

When the Southern Tigers snatched Gabi Guerra from PKNS in pre-season, he seemed a potent addition to the side, only to find himself relegated down to JDT II instead.

Jeronimo Barrales’ trouble in settling down quickly at the club prompted a surprise swap with Guerra a fortnight ago and it is proving to be a masterstroke.

Having already opened his account in the Malaysia Super League (MSL), Guerra took only three minutes to score his first AFC Cup goal. The Argentinean started on the left and often drifted to the centre as he linked up well with the central midfield.

Guerra appears to be playing a role similar to what Luciano Figueroa and Jorge Pereyra Diaz used to fulfil for the Southern Tigers, yet they did not look over reliant on Guerra on Tuesday.