Johor Darul Takzim ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Kedah to successfully clinch the Malaysia Cup for the first time since Tunku Ismail revolutionized the club in 2013.
JDT only needed three minutes to take the lead when Safiq Rahim’s cross found Aidil Zafuan and the defender headed in following questionable marking by Kedah defenders.
But as the match evolved, we perhaps saw more challenges and tackles compared to chances from both teams – Gary Steven Robbat and Baddrol Bakthiar were lucky not to see yellow cards on the 13th and 42nd minute respectively while S. Kunanlan & Gabriel Guerra were booked for strong challenges.
JDT on the other hand were quick in their attacks and they should’ve gone 2-0 on the 22nd minute when Guerra collected Hazwan Bakri’s left-wing low cross unmarked, but Mohd Ifwat saved the shot with his head to keep Kedah’s hopes alive.
Four minutes later, Liridon Krasniqi’s lob found Ken Ilso but with Izham Tarmizi running off his line to clear it, Ilso couldn’t get the ball on-target.
A key factor in this match were JDT’s trio of Safiq, Gary and Natxo Insa. They were able to stifle the influence of Liridon & Amirul Hisyam which resulted in Kedah’s attack lacking quality – a running theme throughout the whole match.
Kedah’s first clear-cut chance came before half-time when Ilso just failed to get a touch on Syazwan Zainon’s low cross and Izham was on hand to catch it.
Three minutes after the restart, Baddrol entered the JDT box with a fine run, but couldn’t get a clean header from Liridon’s lob.
On the 56th minute, Kedah should’ve equalized when Syazwan Zainon’s cross found Baddrol unmarked, but Izham pulled off a fine save to tip his header over the bar.
10 minutes later, JDT doubled their lead when Gonzalo Carbrera got ahead of Rizal Ghazali to slide the ball in from Hazwan’s cross, despite Ifwat’s best efforts to keep it out. At this point, it already seemed like the game was over.
Baddrol could have reduced the deficit when he once again ran into the box unmarked to receive Sandro’s low cross, but with just centimetres in front of goal, he somehow hit the post.
Kedah looked short on inspiration and ideas as JDT looked completely assured to hold on and clinch their first Malaysia Cup triumph since the inception of TMJ’s era.