AFC Champions League

JDT Make History With Victory over Defending Champions

Aiman Nazirmuddin

Football Tribe Malaysia


Striker Syafiq Ahmad emerged as Johor Darul Ta’zim hero when his goal was enough to shock defending champion Kashima Antlers 1-0 in the Asian Champions League Group E (ACL) at Stadium Tan Sri Hassan Yunos in Larkin. 

Despite collecting all three points, JDT’s chances to advance to the top 16 looks close to impossible after Shandong Luneng FC beat Gyeongnam FC 2-1. JDT will face the South Korea’s side in their last group match on the 22nd of May.

Meanwhile, the J.League outfit Kashima Antlers are on the verge of qualification and need to beat the Chinese Super League club if they want to be in the next round at the expense of Gyeongnam. 

Before the match, a minor reshuffle was made by JDT head coach Benjamin Mora, as local forward Syafiq Ahmad led the attack in place of Brazilian striker Diogo Luis Santo who was out with a suspension.

The hosts fired at the defending champions after breaking the deadlock in the 69th minute when Syafiq managed a shot from inside the box to secure the all-important three points. 

The goal was enough to ensure JDT earned the first win of any Malaysian side in Asia’s elite competition. Despite their elimination, this result will remain an incredibly proud moment for the Southern Tigers.