*Substitute Chanturu scores extra-time winner
*JDT to face Bangkok Glass in Round Two Qualifier
NEWLY signed S. Chanturu was the toast of Super League champions Johor Darul Takzim in their 2-1 win over India champions Bengaluru FC in the AFC Champions League first round qualifier at Johor Bahru’s Larkiin Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Perak-born Chanturu, signed from Sarawak for the new season came off the bench to net the winner in the 97th minute – drilling home unstoppable shot off a through ball from another substitute Jasazrin Jamalaluddin to break the hearts of the Indians.
The match could have gone either way after Bengaluru netted the equaliser in the 90th minute through Eugeneson Lyngdoh with an inswinger from a corner. The shot caught JDT goalkeeper by surprise and skipper Safiq Rahim was waiting inside the far pots tried in vain to stop but all he could do was to help the ball into the net.
Bengaluru had a fair share of the ball and chances but the visitors hit the post twice – first through John Johnson (24th) and second by Robin Singh (75th) while skipper Sunil Chhetri also missed a golden opportunity from close range.
JDT, fresh from winning the Charity Shield with a 2-0 win over Pahang in the M-League curtain raiser at the same venue on Jan 31, broke the deadly on 47 minutes after a scoreless first half. Hariss Harun jumped high to head the ball past Bengaluru goalkeeper Lalchuanmawia Ralte from a corner by Nazrin Nawi.
With seconds left on the clock Bengaluru earned a corner and Lyngdoh stunned the 15,000 home fans with the equaliser to send the match into extra time.
Then came the stunner from JDT debutanat Chanturu – who has a knack of scoring vital goals – to send JDT into the next round – a tough away match against Thailand FA Cup champions Bangkok Glass FC on Feb 10.
JDT coach Bojan Hodak was quick to admit that it was close call and playing the Thais is another high hurdle to clear for the Southern Tigers.
“The Thais are a good side. Thailand teams are always difficult sides to play but our win over Bengaluru has given us confidence and we will give our best to remain in the hunt for a place in the (AFC) Champions League proper,” said the Croatian.
JDT are hoping to create history and become the first team from Malaysia to play in the AFC Champions League.