# JDT become the first Malaysian team to win the AFC Cup
# Argentine Leandro Valazquez nets the winner in 1-0 win over FC Istiklol
# Safiq Rahim walks away with the Most Valuable Player award
# Public Holiday in Johor on Sunday
Where others failed Malaysian Super League champions Johor Darul Takzim created Malaysian football in the Tajikistan capital city of Dushanbe – defeating Tajikistan club FC Istiklol in the AFC Cup final on Saturday.
The Johor outfit defeated Istiklol 1-0 in final which was watched by HRH Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar the ruler of Johor.
JDT’s Argentine striker Leandro Valazquez netted the winner in the 23rd minute – when he drove home an unstoppable left footer when Istiklol’s Serbian goalkeeper Nikola Stosic could only parry Safiq Rahim’s corner kick into Valazquez’s path.
It turned out to be the match winner for JDT as Istiklol players could only shed tears – wondering what went wrong on a night when the homesters had three goals disallowed by Japanese referee Minoru Toju – two for offside and one for an infringement on a JDT player.
JDT had more cause for celebration when skipper Safiq Rahim walked away with the Most Valuable Player (MPV) award.
The Southern Tigers, as JDT are known, also had a hero in goalkeeper Farizal Marlias who brought off several saves when his goal was in danger. Farizal was dropped by national caretaker coach Dato Ong Kim Swee from his squad for the World Cup Asian Zone (Group A) qualifier against Palestine in Hebron on Nov 12.
In Johor, JDT fans watched the match live on giant screens that were erected at strategic points in the city and other districts.
To celebrate JDT’s success in winning the Asian title, the state government announced a public holiday on Sunday.
Speaking on television after the final JDT coach Mario Gomez said: “This is history and I am very happy with the way my players played to win the final. It is is an important win which created football history in Malaysia.”
AFC CUP FINAL (OCT 31)
FC Istiklol 0 JDT 1