AFC Cup: JDT back in form with 4-1 win against East Bengal
Malaysia Super League (MSL) champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) came roaring back into form as they defeated East Bengal FC of India 4-1 in Tuesday night's opening AFC Asian Cup Group F match at the Larkin Stadium.
Bojan Hodak's team -- who had gone without a win in their last three matches in all competitions -- got their continental campaign going in style against the I-League runners up, despite the absence of key midfielders Shakir Shaari and Amri Yahyah plus defender Aidil Zafuan.
Attacking midfielder Nazrin Nawi opened the scoring for the Southern Tigers in the ninth minute only for East Bengal's Nigeria-born striker Ranti Martins to equalise in the 33rd minute.
However, Safiq Rahim -- Malaysia international midfielder and top scorer in last December's Suzuki Cup -- regained the lead for the home side just four minutes later. Winger Suppiah Chanturu made it 3-1 in first half injury time.
Following the restart, veteran striker and Malaysia's hero of the 2010 Suzuki Cup win, Safee Sali, slotted in JDT's fourth of the evening to put the game well beyond their Indian opponents.
In the other game of the group, Kitchee SC of Hong Kong defeated S.League side Balestier Khalsa 3-1 to claim all three points.