Analysis

JDT AFC Cup Player Ratings: Longhi’s men win but bow out of the competition

Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) bid farewell to the AFC Cup despite defeating Song Lam Nghe An 3-2 in the Group H finale at Larkin Stadium on Tuesday. Vijhay Vick rates the Southern Tigers…

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Multiple Malaysia Super League (MSL) champions JDT dominated proceedings in Johor Bahru and a three-minute quick-fire by Safawi Rasid and Syafiq Ahmad gave the hosts a glimmer of hope that they could obtain a much-needed high-scoring win.

Yet a deflected shot by Nguyen Viet Nguyen, despite objections by Izham Tarmizi Roslan that he was blocked by an offside player, and a Ho Tuan Tai header levelled terms before the break.

JDT got the winner from a Safiq Rahim penalty in the 66th minute but further attempts to stretch their lead were unsuccessful.

Persija Jakarta top the group on 13 points while Song Lam Nghe An, who edge JDT on the head-to-count, have 10 points and now await the outcome of Home United’s visit to Ceres Negros to see if they can sneak into the next round as the best second-placed team.

For JDT, their sole focus now will be the MSL, which could potentially offer them a route to the AFC Champions League next year.

IZHAM TARMIZI ROSLAN: 6.5

His may have been distracted and had his view blocked for the first goal, but Izham should have done more to prevent the first half equaliser after coming out during the corner.

Izham made an important move to put pressure on a free attacker in the box to deny the visitors a late equaliser.

LA'VERE CORBIN-ONG: 6.5

Corbin-Ong didn’t look entirely convincing going forward but never seemed troubled at the back. Yet it was his cross that lead to Syafiq’s goal.

AIDIL ZAFUAN ABDUL RADZAK: 6.5

Back in the line-up in place of Marcos Antonio, Aidil distributed the ball well from the back. Aidil could have been tougher at the back for the second goal conceded.

FADHLI SHAS: 6

The centre-back appeared to struggle during the early stages of the match but JDT soon dominated proceeding and there weren’t many instances Fadhli was put under pressure.

S. KUNANLAN: 7

The veteran right-back brought his bursting runs into the opponent’s half and it gave the visitors a lot of problems as Kunanlan found space many times.

AFIQ FAZAIL: 7

Afiq very worked hard until he was taken off for Gary Steven Robbat in the 74th minute. The holding midfielder put in the challenges needed - including the professional fouls to protect the back-four.

SAFIQ RAHIM: 7.5

Back in the line-up after being benched in the previous two matches, Safiq looked hungry to make a statement.

He saw two free-kicks go over but JDT’s first goal came from a resulting corner after his shot was tipped away. He scored the winner from the spot kick and threatened to get a second several times.

NATXO INSA: 7.5

Insa got involved a lot in the middle but perhaps he should have been more positive in the first half when Song Lam looked content at sitting back.

Integral to the JDT midfield, Insa also created Safawi’s opener in the first half.