JDT’s second-stringers trump Bengaluru for perfect six

With Saturday’s FA Cup final on the Southern Tigers’ mind, Mario Gomez fielded his reserves but still managed a 3-0 win over the I-League champions. 

Defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) will enter the AFC Cup knockout rounds being the only team to record a 100 per cent record through six games in the group stages.

Bengaluru, managed by assistant Matt Holland in the absence of Ashley Westwood, matched the hosts blow for blow in the first half but they faltered in the second half as JDT dominated proceedings.

JDT supremo Mario Gomez was proud of his charges but he reserved special praise for skipper Safiq Rahim, who came off the bench in the second half with both teams still tied.

Safiq scored his seventh goal of the competition and assisted the club’s second of the night.

“Safiq always wants to win. It’s the same for all my players but Safiq, as captain, is leading by example … showing hunger all the time,” Gomez told broadcasters TV9.

“It was a tough match as Bengaluru are a strong side and had their imports on the pitch too. My players played well. Now, we look forward to the FA Cup.”

Safiq replaced Nazrin Nawi in the 59th minute and 11 minutes later, he found the back of the net after his shot took a massive deflection off centre-back John Johnson.

Safiq later played Safee Sali through for the second in the 78th minute.

Central midfielder Shakir Shaari put the icing on the cake with a spot-kick in stoppage time.

JDT meet Filipino side Kaya in the one-legged round of 16 at Larkin Stadium on May 25.