JDT fall to champs Kashima Antlers in AFC Champion League

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It was a losing start for five-time Malaysian Super League champions Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) in their AFC Champions League debut, going down to 2-1 to defending champions Kashima Antlers in their opening Group E match on Tuesday.
 
Despite parading a bulk of their Under-23 players the Japanese club did enough to shut out the Malaysian flag bearers who next play Korea’s Gyeongnam FC at the Larkin Stadium on March 12.
 
Goalkeeper Farizal Marlias, who was surprisingly not named to the national squad by coach Tan Cheng Hoe, gave away a 14th-minute penalty when he fouled Kashima striker Serginho inside the box.
 
Farizal, however, made up for his folly by stopping the Brazilian’s spot kick. 
 
Kashima went one up on 43 minutes when Farizal and company were beaten Taiko Hirato’s harmless-looking cross that surprised all and bounced into the net.
 
As the match progressed so did Farizal’s confidence and good reading of the game as he made successive saves off Kanamori and Serginho.
 
The Brazilian, however, got his name into the scoresheet when he pounced on a Corbin Ong’s poor clearance and whipped in an unstoppable long-range shot that beat Farizal all the way.
 
New signing Diogo Santo, however, reduced the deficit for JDT at the Kashima Soccer Stadium when substitute Akhyar Rasid won a free kick in the 80th minute.
 
Off the ensuing freekick skipper, Hariss Harun floated a perfect ball for Diogo to slam a powerful shot past keeper Kwoun Sun-jae to add some respectability to the scoreline. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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