Japanese heavyweights Gamba too hot for JDT

Getting past Gamba Osaka was a step too far for Malaysia Super League (MSL) champions Johor Darul Ta'zim, who suffered a 3-0 defeat in the AFC Champions League Playoff in Japan on Tuesday.

The Southern Tigers saw little of the ball in the final third at the Suita City Football Stadium and, as expected, the difference in class between the two teams was telling.

The 2016 J-League runners-up were patient coming up against JDT’s defensive approach, trying to open up the visitors with their passing.

JDT enjoyed a fair share of possession in the second half, but the hosts were already seeing out the match

The visitors’ resistance was broken after 26 minutes when a series of mistakes by Amirul Hadi Zainal, Marcos Antonio and Fadhli Shas allowed Ademilson to head past JDT keeper Farizal Marlias.

Gamba doubled their lead through Shun Nagasawa just three minutes later, again after taking JDT's defence apart, and their were worrying signs for the Southern Tigers.

But the traveling side was able to hold firm until defender Genta Miura marked his debut with a goal, rising to head home a cross in the 70th minute.

JDT enjoyed a fair share of possession in the second half, but the hosts were already seeing out the match.

The Japanese side will enter the Champions League group stage while JDT will play in the 2017 AFC Cup alongside Myanmar's Magwe, Global from Philippines and either Beoung Ket Angkok or Lao Toyota in Group F.

JDT had defeated Bangkok United on penalties in the Preliminary Round 2 prior to their trip to Osaka to reach the final stage of qualifying for the first time.

Photo: Gamba Osaka