Another day at the office for JDT as they bag Malaysia Cup

KUALA LUMPUR: The pitch was bad, so was the refereeing. But class always tells. So, Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) were the ones that looked good as they bagged yet another trophy.

The engraver might have, as well, added JDT's name to the Malaysia Cup trophy before the tournament kicked off at 9pm yesterday at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Whatever the conditions, JDT were business-like as usual, carving out a 3-1 win over Terengganu.

Referee S. Logeswaran unwittingly found himself the centre of attention for awarding three controversial penalties.

It didn't take long for Logeswaran to leave fans shaking their heads.

In the sixth minute he awarded a penalty to JDT after a 'soft' challenge by Terengganu's Azam Azmi Murad. Bergson Da Silva converted.

Logeswaran's second questionable decision was his "delay" in awarding Terengganu a penalty in the 21st minute. JDT's Jordi Amat's hard challenge on Ivan Mamut could have even warranted a red card.

Logeswaran's penalty award in stoppage time should not have been given as it was seemingly a simulation on JDT's part.

The pitch was not worthy of the occasion. JDT captain Jordi Amat commented that for a cup final, the playing field should be carpet-like, but on Friday, it felt more like a golf course.

Argentine Esteban Solari, in his first year as JDT coach, easily added three titles to his resume: the FA Cup, the Super League and the Malaysia Cup.

Overall, the Southern Tigers achieved their super treble for the second straight season.

Every JDT player wanted to be part of the occasion and no one wanted to miss a single minute.

Solari revealed that when defender Shane Lowry was substituted by Feroz Baharudin in the 58th minute, the Australian cried.

"He was crying when he came off because he is someone who plays with his heart, gives his whole energy and is committed to the team," said Solari.

"Maybe it's fate that Feroz came on to score a goal but in the end, Lowry is a warrior and he will bounce back."

On whether Jordi deserved a red card for his challenge on Terengganu's Ivan Mamut in the 19th minute, Solari said: "I don't think it was a foul that called for a card. It's fair to give a card but in the end it's not about the foul or the card because for the entire game, JDT played, created chances, had possession."

Terengganu coach Tomislav Steinbruckner, who was unhappy with Logeswaran's refereeing, called for the use of video assistant referee (VAR) in big matches such as the Malaysia Cup final.

The Croatian said: "There were some situations I can complain about, and there should have been a couple more yellow cards but I don't want to talk about it."

Steinbruckner refused to blame the pitch for their loss and said he is satisfied with his men's performance.

"The pitch wasn't perfect but there were two teams on the field."

JDT seized an early lead in the sixth minute through a penalty by Bergson Da Silva.

Terengganu levelled in the 21st minute through a penalty by Ivan Mamut. But goals by Feroz (73th) and Arif Aiman Hanapi (penalty, (90+3) saw JDT prevail.

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