KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — Defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) kicked off their Malaysia Cup Group D campaign with a convincing 2-0 win over Kelantan FC at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Iskandar Puteri tonight.
Import striker Bergson Da Silva cooly slotted home a penalty kick in the 30th minute to put JDT 1-0 up after youngster Arif Aiman Mohd Hanapi was fouled in the box by defender Muhammad Ghaffar Abdul Rahman.
It was all one-way street as JDT blew two more chances to pull further ahead when defender Shane Thomas Lowry’s header, off a cross from midfielder Muhammad Nazmi Faiz Mansor, struck the post in the 37th minute and Bergson’s powerful shot from outside the box a minute later rattled the crossbar.
JDT, who recently won the Super League crown for the eighth time in a row, added the second goal in the 49th minute when winger Muhammad Safawi Rasid prodded the ball in after a fine cross from Muhammad Danial Amier Norshisham.
Kelantan’s best chance came in the 86th minute but Dzulfahmi Abdul Hadi’s attempt from outside the box was pushed away by JDT goalkeeper Muhammad Haziq Nadzli.
In another Group D match at the Petaling Jaya City Council Stadium, hosts Petaling Jaya (PJ) City FC needed an 80th-minute equaliser from Darren Lok to hold Sabah FC to a 1-1 draw and a share of the points.
The visitors, under the guidance of former national coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee, had earlier gone ahead in the 20th minute through a superbly taken freekick by South Korean defender Park Tae-su.
Meanwhile, 2021 Super League runners-up Kedah Darul Aman FC were clearly a class above in their 3-0 Group C win over Kelantan United at the Darul Aman Stadium in Alor Setar.
Midfielder Mohd Syazwan Zainon was the hero for five-time Malaysia Cup champions Kedah when he bagged a brace in the 14th and 58th minutes while foreign import Tchetche Kipre chipped in with a goal two minutes into the first-half injury time.
Over at the Hang Jebat Stadium, not even a 25-minute stoppage in the first half due to heavy rain and lightning could stop hosts Melaka United from inflicting a 2-0 win over 2021 Premier League champions Negeri Sembilan FC in another Group C match.
Import striker Adriano Aparecido Narcizo shot Melaka ahead in the 27th minute before S. Kumaahran doubled their lead to hand coach Zainal Abidin Hassan’s team all three points. — Bernama