JDT 4 East Bengal 1: Safee on target in goal romp

Safee Sali scored a spectacular goal as Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) blitzed 4-1 past Indian side East Bengal in their 2015 AFC Cup opener.

Perhaps taking into account of Saturday's FA Cup clash with Pahang, JDT head coach Bojan Hodak opted to bench his foreign stars besides Singapore international Hariss Harun and give his fringe players a chance to impress.

They did just that by starting the match in a high tempo to the delight of the home crowd.

S. Chanturu, who was lively throughout the match, won a free-kick just outside East Bengal's penalty box in the ninth minute, which was duly converted by Nazrin Nawi.

The Southern Tigers then had a few opportunities to double their lead, but the visitors equalised in the 35th minute against the run of play when Ranti Martin's free-kick was deflected past goalkeeper Izham Tarmizi.

However, it proved to be just a temporary setback, as JDT won a penalty a minute later after East Bengal defender Milan Susak was adjudged of handling the ball inside the penalty area.

Safiq Rahim latched home from the spot to give his side a 2-1 lead going into half-time.

After the break, JDT showed no sign of letting up as they began the second-half in a similarly high tempo.

Their advantage was increased in the 48th minute when Jaszrin Jamaludin broke an offside trap to set up Chanturu for a close range finish.

They went three goals up in no time as national striker Safee Sali saved the best goal for last, netting a brilliant overhead kick to make it 4-1.

The home side visibly slowed down following Safee's goal, but they managed to keep East Bengal at bay and held on for the victory.

JDT's AFC Cup campaign wil continue on March 10th with a match against Singapore's Balestier United at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

(Picture: asiana.my)