Asia AFC Champions League

Rashid’s the Hero as JDT Stun Ulsan

Substitute Akhyar Rashid was the hero for Malaysia’s very own Johor Darul Ta’zim as his late goal helped the Southern Tigers to a stunning 2-1 win over South Korean giants Ulsan Hyundai in Tuesday’s AFC Champions League match at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium.

JDT thoroughly deserved their win, having posed a greater threat throughout the first half. Bergson narrowly missed a header in the fourth minute, and Fernando Forestieri hit the post with a powerful right-footed shot six minutes later, leaving Ulsan goalie  Jo Hyeon-woo well beaten.

Forestieri continued to trouble Ulsan, narrowly missing a 25-yard free kick in the 29th minute. Heberty’s attempt from outside the area was deflected just wide. JDT came even closer to scoring five minutes before halftime when Bergson’s first-time, curling left-footed shot hit the crossbar after Heberty set him up on the break.

The Malaysians struck the woodwork again four minutes later. This time, Heberty’s shot found the back of the net after he controlled Afiq Faizal’s pass with his chest and unleashed a left-footed strike from a distance.

In the second half, Heberty’s fierce free-kick hit the post, and captain Jordi Amat couldn’t redirect the rebound on target. JDT’s missed opportunities came back to haunt them 21 minutes before full-time, when Valeri Qazaishvili managed to distract three defenders before delivering a perfect pass to Ataru Esaka, with the former Omiya Ardija and Kawasaki Frontale man calmly slotting the ball home past JDT goalkeeper Syihan Hazmi.

Arif Aiman’s attempt was saved at the other end, and Lee Myung-jae’s shot went wide for newly-crowned K League 1 champions Ulsan as both teams sought a winner. Ultimately, JDT emerged victorious, with Syihan making a crucial save from Ulsan substitute Martin Adam, before the former Negeri Sembilan FC custodian initiated a swift counterattack that led to Akhyar scoring past Hyeon-woo, sending the Sultan Ibrahim crowd into a frenzy and keeping JDT’s hopes alive for a spot in the last 16.