Johor Darul Ta’zim huffed and puffed for large periods against PDRM and it’s a sign of things that the champions have to come to expect.
It would be tactical suicide for any team in the Super League to go toe-to-toe with JDT in a match, some more than others. In PDRM’s case, that certainly rings true having just been promoted from the Premier League and possessing a squad that lacks that star power that the reigning champions have in their ranks.
So the only way to approach a game against the Southern Tigers would be to sit back, soak up the pressure, defender in numbers and look to hit on the counter when the opportunity arises. It is a valid tactical plan and one which JDT are well aware to be in the remit of many of their opponents in the divisions.
For head coach Benjamin Mora, he accepts that teams have to adapt to situations that best suit them, admitting that his side also tread that path in the AFC Champions League. And it is incumbent on JDT to find the solutions in such games where space is very often limited.
“There are many situations that JDT face and one of them is that the opponents try to study better JDT players. They try to do a bit more than what they normally do. But that is normal. JDT are the champions and the team to beat, we can live with that. That’s why we need to improve in the decision making and the variance that we have.
“This game we had 15-20 approximations in the final third and around the box but we couldn’t score. Even the penalty almost we couldn’t score. So as this goes on, minute by minute it starts to get complicated. Every year it gets more difficult for JDT, that is normal. We have a lot of games and you can see the players are tired, in some situations we’re struggling to get to the zone,” said Mora after the match.
In the match, JDT found their breakthrough with six minutes left on the clock when Fadhli Shas’ goal-bound shot was blocked by the hand of PDRM’s centre back Serdar Geldiýew. Referee Fairuzi Mat Desa did no hesitate in his decision to award the spot kick. Twice the ball his the post from Diogo’s initial spot kick to Nazmi Faiz’s follow up, before Diogo tap home the winner.
Another game where star forward Safawi Rasid was once again missing from the squad. Mora had explained during the post-match press conference that Safawi is out nursing an injury but should return soon enough to bolster the team. JDT will next face Felda United at Sultan Ibrahim Stadium on 14 March 2020.
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