Exclusive: Hariss Harun on Singapore, Southern Tigers and the Suzuki Cup

It's been a busy period for Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT), claiming a record third straight Malaysia Super League title and also being in AFC Cup action. But one of their stars Hariss Harun found time for a Q&A session with FourFourTwo...

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Fresh off claiming their third successive MSL crown, JDT were held to a 1-1 draw with South China in their AFC Cup quarter-final first-leg clash in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Even though we’re not happy with the way the game ended, I think we still have the advantage and we have to make it count at home

Several dozen travelling fans made the journey from Johor, where they added a colourful and noisy backdrop to a match where the visitors controlled much of the first half, before South China grabbed a dramatic late equaliser ahead of next week’s return leg at Larkin Stadium.

After the match, JDT and Singapore star Hariss Harun – who was a standout for the visitors – spoke exclusively with FourFourTwo about the match itself, the afterglow of the domestic title and the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup.

Hariss, thanks for speaking with FourFourTwo. Firstly what are your impressions of the match?

In the first half we did well, controlled the game and put them under quite a bit of pressure and even up until the period when we got the first goal I think we had control of the game.

Then in the second half we backed off a little bit and they came at us and it’s always disappointing to concede like that in the very last minute.

Hariss is a key part of the JDT midfield. Photo: JDT

For a team like us, of our stature, we’re the defending champions and those kind of goals and these kinds of matches feel like a loss.

But it’s still 1-1 so the game is still on with the second leg to play at Larkin and even though we’re not happy with the way that the game ended, I think we still have the advantage and we have to make it count at home next week.

The team looked comfortable for much of the first half, where you controlled possession and limited their chances, was it a question of the team relaxing after you went ahead?

They changed a couple of players in the second half and maybe we tired towards the end, but for me we came here with a game plan which we executed to a certain extent, but maybe we just relaxed a little bit too much towards the end of the match.

Of course, the team claimed the MSL title last Friday and then travelled here to Hong Kong immediately afterwards. Was there a little bit of a hangover after the high of that title victory?

Naturally we travelled here in a really good mood after retaining our Super League title, but I wouldn’t say that made us too relaxed coming here.

We definitely came here in high spirits but maybe it was just a physical thing, tiring a little at the end and with that our concentration maybe went a little and that led to their goal.

So we need to focus on these areas. We need to freshen up – we have a week’s rest before the next game – and we’ve got to make it count back at home.

[Concluded over page with Hariss' thoughts on the pressure JDT face and the looming Suzuki Cup]