SHAH ALAM: Johor Darul Ta’zim finally completed a collection of titles in the M-League when they overcame Kedah 2-0 in the Malaysia Cup final at Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday.
Defender Aidil Zafuan Radzak and Argentine Gonzalo Cabrera scored a goal in each half as JDT became the first Johor side to win the country’s most prestigious title since 1991.
The defeat was a major heartbreak for defending champions Kedah in their third straight final as they also had chances in the match to retain their title.
JDT played the 4-3-3 formation with no major surprises in their line-up except for the decision by coach Ulisses Morais to bench this season’s top scorer Mohammed Ghaddar and start national striker Ahmad Hazwan Bakri.
Kedah employed the 4-2-3-1 formation with Dane Ken Ilso leading their attack.
JDT started off offensively in hope to disorientate Kedah.
The former AFC Cup champions forced a corner kick in the third minute which resulted in the opening goal.
Captain Safiq Rahim delivered a perfect corner kick into the Kedah penalty box where an unmarked Aidil Zafuan evaded his marker and rose high to head in the ball past goalkeeper Ifwat Akmal Chek Kassim.
It was Aidil Zafuan’s first goal of the season in 22 appearances but it could have been avoided had Kedah defended well.
Ilso was supposed to mark Aidil when defending the corner kick but the striker got confused with JDT’s swift movements in the box.
In the 22nd minute, JDT almost extended their lead when they broke free on the left through Hazwan who outpaced his marker, Rizal Ghazali.
But Argentine Gabriel Guerra shot Hazwan’s low cross straight to Kedah custodian Ifwat.
JDT were the dominant side in the first half with a total of seven attempts compared to Kedah’s three.
After the break, Kedah surged forward for the equaliser and they came close in the 56th minute.
Winger Syazwan Zainon managed to scramble the ball past JDT’s S. Kunanlan before crossing it over several heads to Baddrol Bakhtiar but his header was palmed by keeper Izham Tarmizi Roslan against the crossbar.
JDT netted a second goal when winger Cabrera came in on the blind side of Kedah’s Rizal and connected Hazwan’s deflected cross past keeper Ifwat in the 63rd minute.
Five minutes later, Baddrol was unlucky again not to net a goal for Kedah when his shot from a Sandro Mendonca’s cross could only rattle the post.