JOHOR BAHRU, 2023, FEBRUARY 24 – Johor Darul Ta’zim FC (JDT) started the new M-League season with an impressive performance by defeating Terengganu FC 2-0 to lift the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Cup and earn their first three points in the Super League. JDT has a reputation as one of the strongest teams in the league, and they did not disappoint their fans in this game.
JDT’s new Spanish signing Juan Muñiz made an immediate impact by scoring a goal as early as the fifth minute to give JDT a 1-0 lead.
Despite the early goal, Terengganu, led by Croatian-German coach Tomislav Steinbrückner, managed to hold JDT at bay in the first half, limiting them to long-range efforts that goalkeeper Suhaimi Husin dealt with easily. Terengganu tried to be more ambitious in the second half by bringing on Syafik Ismail for the ineffective Adisak Kraisorn, but this only served to encourage JDT to be more adventurous, as spaces opened up.
JDT doubled their lead in the 53rd minute when Arif Aiman ran rings around Hairiey Hakim before delivering a cross for Bérgson da Silva to nudge into the goal with his thigh. JDT’s dominance continued for the rest of the match, and they managed to clinch their fifth successive triumph in the season opener since losing to Kedah in 2017.
JDT’s Argentine coach, Esteban Solari, would have many positives to take from the evening, especially the performances of JDT debutants Ahmad Syihan Hazmi and Óscar Arribas. It is clear that JDT is a team to watch out for this season.
For Terengganu, it is back to the drawing board for Steinbrückner and his team. However, they will not face many opponents as strong as JDT for the rest of the campaign, which provides them with an opportunity to regroup and come back stronger in the next games.