Analysis

Malaysia Cup: Safuwan header gives Pahang crucial draw against JDT

Safuwan Baharudin headed in an injury-time equalizer as Pahang FA forced Malaysia Cup defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) to a 1-1 draw in the first-leg quarterfinals.

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The Singaporean’s leveler canceled out Gonzalo Cabrera’s opener, leaving this contest evenly balanced ahead of the second-leg.

FourFourTwo looks at some of things which transpired in this match.

Gonzalo Cabrera turns on the style

With Fernando Marquez sidelined through injury, JDT needed someone else to help with the goalscoring duties beside Safawi Rasid. As expected, Pahang started off the more dominant side and left the visitors to dig deep and create chances. When it came though, they took it courtesy of Gonzalo Cabrera’s brilliance. The Argentina forward stroked home an accurate first-time shot that gave Helmi Eliza no chance. After scoring the opener against Mifa, Cabrera has again played an influential role for JDT.

Pahang’s miserable away home form continues

In front of strong crowd at Darul Makmur Stadium, Pahang were expected to get their first win in the Malaysia Cup. They started off strongly, pressing high and throwing numbers forward in attack. They got their reward right at the end when Safuwan climbed high to head past Farizal Marlis for the equalizer. But the draw doesn’t mask the fact Pahang have yet to win at home in the Malaysia Cup. The result leaves JDT as slight favourites ahead of the second-leg at Larkin Stadium next week.

The return-leg will be a fascinating affair

JDT defender Aidil Zafuan admitted that Safuwan’s equalizer should not have happened, but his team will still have the upper hand going into the second-leg quarterfinals. But do not rule the Elephants out at any cost. Pahang are Cup masters, and always come alive in Cup competitions. Dollah Salleh’s men will be confident of overturning this slim deficit, having already beaten JDT at home in the FA Cup quarterfinals. They have plenty of attacking players in their ranks who can score and put heat on JDT too. So sit tight, we are in store for a cracking second-leg.

Photo credit: Pahang FA Facebook