KUALA LUMPUR: Ahmad Hazwan Bakri reignited Johor Darul Ta'zim's (JDT) AFC Cup campaign after scoring a late winner to beat Singapore's Tampines Rovers 2-1 in Johor Baru on Wednesday.
Hazwan won a personal duel with Tampines goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari, who denied the JDT forward three gilt-edged opportunities before finally being beaten in the 79th minute.
Safawi Rasid opened the scoring in the 13th minute but S-League club Tampines drew level with a penalty just before half-time with the score level until Hazwan ensured that JDT extended their unbeaten run at Larkin Stadium to 50 matches since their last home defeat in November 2015.
Victory took JDT into a tie for the lead on seven points in Group H with Persija Jakarta and Song Lam Nghe An with the Indonesian club beating their Vietnamese opponents 1-0 in an earlier match.
JDT coach Raul Longhi opted for an all-local line-up as Safiq Rahim returned to the JDT line up among six changes made from Saturday's 1-0 win over Terengganu in the Super League.
After Hazwan had a volley turned around the post by Syazwan, the Tampines goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Safawi's shot in the 13th minute.
As Tampines tried to break forward, S. Kunanlan intercepted and fed Safawi who smashed in his second goal of the competition with a swerving effort from 20 metres out.
But Tampines were level on the stroke of half-time after Khairul Amri converted a penalty awarded for handball by La'Vere Corbin-Ong while defending a corner-kick, for which the JDT left-back was booked.
Hazwan could have put JDT ahead early in the second half when through on goal but chose to pass when Syazwan narrowed the angle with the chance going begging.
The Tampines goalkeeper produced a brilliant save to deny Hazwan again in the 67th minute from point-blank range.
But Hazwan finally got the better of Syazwan with 11 minutes remaining after hitting the ball first-time with his left foot from Natxo Insa's defence-splitting pass.