Johor Darul Ta’zim registered a win in their first-ever AFC Champions League game at the new Sultan Ibrahim Stadium, getting the better of Korean side Suwon Bluewings with a 2-1 victory.
The hosts took the lead from the penalty spot after just 12 minutes, with attacker Gonzalo Cabrera finding the net with a powerful shot which got the better of goalkeeper No Dong-Geon.
Despite having the lions share of possession, Suwon were unable to fashion many clear goal-scoring chances. Adam Taggart spurned an invaluable one-on-once chance in the 14th minute, firing his shot far above the crossbar.
Johor were denied what looked like a second penalty, as Diogo Luis Santo bore down on goal in the 38th minute and was stopped by aggressive and committed defending from Doneil Henry.
It took until the second half for Suwon to get themselves back in the game, managing to tuck away another half-chance in style. Substitute Terry Antonis made his mark by turning and quickly unleashing an excellent effort which managed to find the back of the net from outside the box, despite being surrounded by JDT defenders.
However, the Southern Tigers were not prepared to let the result slip away from them just yet, and earned themselves a chance when Suwon failed to clear their lines from a corner kick. Nazmi Faiz whipped in an excellent second ball from the edge of the penalty box, looping perfectly to find defender Mauricio at the back post, who put Johor ahead for the second time.
The hosts had no issues in holding on to their result from there and capped off a remarkable night in the AFC Champions League. This is the Malaysian sides’ second-ever win the competition propper, having beaten Kashima Antlers 1-0 in last years’ edition despite finishing bottom of their group.
JDT’s chances of qualification are still hard to assess due to the number of postponed games. Assuming no more delays, they will likely face Suwon again in the reverse fixture next time out in early April.