# Southern Tigers edge Bangkok United FC 5-4 in penalty shoot-out
# Johor outfit to face Japan’s Gamba Osaka in East Zone play-off on Feb 7
By Rizal Abdullah
Three-time Malaysian Super League champions Johor Darul Takzim won the lottery – a 5-4 win in a penalty-shootout over Bangkok United FC in a preliminary stage two match at the Thammasat Stadium in Pathum Thani, Bangkok on Tuesday.
Regulation time ended scoreless and 30 minutes of extra-time saw the score tied at 1-1 with JDT reduced to 10-man after Argentine substitute Jeronimo Barrales getting a direct red card on 112 minutes with the Southern Tigers leading 1-0 through a diving header by skipper Safiq Rahim off a cross by Barrales.
Barrales saw less than 10 minutes of action on the field after he replaced Gonzalo Cabrera on 103 minutes when referee Wang Di of China gave the Argentine a direct red for an off-the-ball incident.
A last grasp equalizer by Bangkok United’s Nigerian-born Bahrain international Jaycee John Okwunwanne sent the match into the shoot-out but the Southern Tigers rode on the luck of the Rooster to come off 5-4 winners – breaking the heart of the vociferous home supporters.
The win gives JDT a East Zone play-off against Japanese giants Gamba Osaka which will be played at the Suita City Football Stadium in Osaka on Feb 7.
The other play-offs in the East Zone on the same day are:
Ulsan Hyundai (Korea) versus Kitchee (Hong Kong)
(Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium, Ulsan)
Shanghai SIPS (China) versus Sukhotai FC (Thailand)
(Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai)
Shanghai Shenhua (China) will play Brisbane Roar (Australia)
(Hongkou Stadium, Shanghai)
JDT have finally broken the Thai jinx in the AFC Champions League and the Southern Tigers, under new chief coach Benjamin Mora, are only one step away from writing a new chapter in the history of Malaysian football by becoming the first team from the country to play in the AFC Champions League.
In 2015 JDT wrote Malaysian football history when the team won the AFC Cup with a 1-0 win over Tajikstan’s Istiklol FC in the final played in Dushanbe.
However, JDT’s AFC Champions League dreams were derailed by Thai clubs in stage two by Bangkok Glass and Muangthong in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The dramatic shootout win against Bangkok United on Tuesday turned JDT goalkeeper Farizal Marlias into a hero when he stopped spot kicks from Montenegro midfielder Dragon Boskovic and Anthony Ampaipitakwong.
RESULTS AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
(Preliminary Stage Two)
Bangkok United FC 1 JDT 1
(JDT win 5-4 on penalties to advance to playoff)