Football Tribe Malaysia
Five-time Malaysian Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) fail to secure their first points after a 2-1 away loss to Kashima Antlers in the opening game of their AFC Champions League (ACL) campaign.
The Southern Tigers began the tournament with a sense of adventure, breaking new ground for a Malaysian club side and getting a rare chance to test themselves against the very best. It was clear that the ACL defending champions were in a class of their own, controlling the game for almost the entire 90 minutes. JDT had goalkeeper Farizal Marlias to thank for saving at least five dangerous attempts to deny the home side.
Kashima scored their goals through two of their midfielders, midfielders with Taiki Hirato striking in the 43rd minute before Serginho doubled the lead shortly before the hour mark. New signing Diogo Luis Santo replied for JDT in the 80th minute to score their first ever goal on the continent.
The Super League champions are the first Malaysian side to play in the competition and were unable to cope with the pace of the game set by the J-League giants. However, their resilience and success in finding the net are positive signs they can take forward to their next matches.
JDT will host Gyeongnam FC on March 12th before traveling to play against Shangdong Luneng on April 9th.