* Southern Tigers one step away from advancing to second round
* East Bengal whip Balestier Khalsa 3-0 in Kolkata
Johor Darul Takzim outplayed Kitchee FC 2-0 at the Larkin Stadium in Johor Bahru on Tuesday to move to the top of Group F in the AFC Cup with nine points – dislodging the Hong Kong outfit and put themselves one step away from advancing to Round of 16.
The win gave the Southern Tigers sweet revenge for the 2-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of Kitchee FC in an away at the Mongtok Stadium in Hong Kong in the first round on March 17.
JDT took only 17 minutes to get the first goal which came via their Argentine hotshot Luciano Figueroa who found the net from an acute angle from a through ball from skipper Safiq Rahim.
Just before the haftime break JDT increased their tally to 2-0 – this it was Safiq who got his name into the scoresheet when he blasted in a penalty after S. Kunanlan was felled inside the box.
Kitchee, however, gave JDT a torrid time in the second-half but the JDT defence marshalled around their towering Brazilian Antonio Marcos held out as the visitors led by their skipper Lo Wan Yee international midfielder Lam Ka Wai came in waves. JDT goalkeeper Ahmad Tarmizi was also in top form with several crucial saves from set pieces.
“We paid the price for not having the right attitude in the first half. The damage was done in the first half. Mya players played better after the break but we were not able to put the finishing touches,” said Kitchee coach Jose Molina, adding that JDT defence played a tight game to deny his players.
JDT coach Bojan Hodak said: “It was a good win. We played well and deserved to win. It has boosted out confidence to vie for a place in the next round.”
Kitchee are now second in the group with 7 points while Kingfisher East Bengal of India registered their first win in four matches with a 3-0 whitewash of Balestier Khalsa of Singapore at the Vivekananda Stadium in Kolkata and are third with four points. Balestier are at the bottom of the group with three points
AFC CUP (GROUP F)
JDT (Mas) 2 Kitchee FC (HKG) 0
Kingfisher East Bengal FC (Ind) 3 Balestier Khalsa (Sin) 0