# First Malaysian team to reach the AFC Cup semi-finals
# Southern Tigers impress despite playing with 10 players
# Safee Sali hits a brace in 3-1 win at Mongkok Stadium
The night belonged to Safee Sali as he hit a brace in Johor Darul Takzim’s 3-1 win in the return-leg quarter-finals at the Mongkok Stadium in the AFC Cup competition to advance to the semi-finals 4-2 on aggregate.
The Southern Tigers thus became the first Malaysian team to reach the semi-finals in the second-tier tournament. The first-leg at the Larkin Stadium ended in a 1-1 draw.
JDT’s win was all the more remarkable as the visitors were reduced to 10-man after Argentine hot-shot Luciano Figueroa was given the marching orders after 36 minutes with a direct red card by referee Fahad Jaber Al-Marri the of Qatar. The score at that stage was 2-1 in JDT’s favour.
Mahali Jasuli gave JDT the lead on 26 minutes when his clinical finishing beat South China’s goalkeeper Christian Medrano Mora from Ecuador but it was 1-1 on the night and 2-2 on aggregate two minutes later when Cameroonian striker Mahama Awal beat JDT keeper Izham Tarmizi to score for the home team.
South China were stunned again on 30 minutes when Safee Sali scored his first and third goal of the competition when he finished off a Figueroa cross into the box. 2-1 for JDT and 3-2 on aggregate.
JDT put Figueroa’s sacking aside and came in droves at South China and were duly rewarded with a big dose of luck from South China defender Jack Sealy who misdirected his header to his keeper and Safee finished it off with quick strides before out of position Mora could recover deep into added time in the first half.
It was certainly a miserable night for South China when skipper Bojan Malisic muffed a penalty in the 88th minute. The Serbian sent his spot kick over the bar.
RESULT AFC CUP QUARTER-FINALS (Second-leg)
South China 1 JDT 3
(JDT advance to the semi-finals 4-2 on aggregate)