Liga Super Malaysia leaders and defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim showcased a ruthless and relentless brand of football on Friday night as they take on Perak FA in their Matchweek 6 showdown at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium. The Southern Tigers utterly demolished the Bos Gaurus 7-0, with Argentine-Iraqi winger Gonzalo Cabrera bagging himself a hat-trick. Safawi Rasid, who was linked with Portuguese Liga NOS side Portimonense, also joined in the fun with a goal, while teenage sensation Ramadhan Saifullah was also on the scoresheet, with the 19-year old scoring his second goal in two games.
Undefeated in their five matches so far with four wins and a draw to their name, Benjamin Mora’s JDT were the clear favorites for Friday’s encounter, especially considering Perak were without midfielders Careca and Partiban Janasekaran, both of whom were out injured. However, Perak head coach Mehmet Durakovic did deploy a decent squad for Friday night, containing the likes of Guilherme De Paula, Anthony Golec, Rafiuddin Roddin, Shahrel Fikri, Firdaus Saiyadi, Nazirul Naim, and captain Shahrul Saad.
After an evenly-balanced opening 20 minutes, JDT broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute, with Afiq Fazali scoring a screamer of a goal from outside the penalty box after the Perak defense had failed to clear the ball away far enough. Cabrera then made it 2-0 in the 35th minute after some excellent teamwork with Leandro Velazquez, the two Argentinians exchanging the ball before Cabrera fired off a smartly-taken shot that beat Perak’s 22-year old goalkeeper Nasrullah Aziz by the narrowest of margins.
JDT were then awarded a penalty by the referee in the 44th minute after former Buriram United striker Diogo was fouled by Rafiuddin inside the Perak penalty box. Cabrera made no mistake with his penalty, easily beating Nasrullah for the second time to make it 3-0 JDT. Ramadhan then extended his team’s advantage on the stroke of half-time, firing a cannonball from outside the penalty box that sealed a dominant 4-0 lead for JDT going into the break.
The second stanza saw JDT resuming their relentless style of play despite being four goals to the good. The Perak defense simply could not contend with JDT’s attacking flair as the hosts added three more goals in the second half. Cabrera completed his hat-trick in the 62nd minute, with Diogo managing to lure Nasrullah out of his goal before slipping the ball towards Cabrera, who tapped in JDT’s fifth of the night into the empty net.
Safawi, coming off the bench to replace Ramadhan, then made it 6-0 in the 78th minute. Using his blistering pace, Safawi managed to outrun the Perak defense before beating Nasrullah in a one-on-one battle, easily smashing in the ball into the empty goal.
Fellow substitute Akhyar Rashid then placed the icing on the cake for JDT while at the same time sealing Perak’s fate, blasting in a well-taken shot that left Nasrullah picking the ball out of his net for the seventh time in the 83rd minute.
The 7-0 defeat was the heaviest defeat that Perak had received throughout their tenure in the Liga Super, while at the same time cementing JDT’s position in the Liga Super summit. The Southern Tigers received even more good news after a single Uche Agba goal ensured a 1-0 win for Melaka United over JDT’s closest competitors Terengganu FC at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Krubong, Melaka. With both JDT and Terengganu locking horns on September 11th, a six point lead over the Turtles was exactly what JDT needed right now.
In the early kick-off, Selangor FA were made to work hard for their three points at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu, as hosts Sabah FA took them by surprise with a goal from Rodoljub Paunovic in the 65th minute. However the Red Giants had Nigerian striker Ifedayo Olusegun to thank, as his brace in the 72nd and 81st minutes ensured a gritty 2-1 win for B. Sathianathan’s men.
Matchweek 6 continues on Saturday with Kedah FA hosting Petaling Jaya City at the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Setar, basement dwellers PDRM FA hosting FELDA United at the KLFA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, and university side UiTM FC welcoming Pahang FA to the UiTM Stadium in Shah Alam.