Johor Darul Ta'zim edge Selangor to win Malaysia Charity Shield at Larkin
A Hariss Harun header was cancelled out in the second half as Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) drew 1-1 with Selangor on the opening day of the Malaysia Super League season on Saturday at the Larkin Stadium.
The Singapore international broke the deadlock in the latest edition of the 2016 Charity Shield, the traditional curtain raiser between the league champions and the Malaysia Cup winners, but a clever free-kick from Hafiz Kamal earned Selangor a share of the spoils.
While each team get a point each, the destination of the trophy was decided after a marathon penalty shootout that JDT won 7-6.
In a typical early season game with both teams trying to find some degree of fluidity, JDT made most of the running in the first half, pushing the visitors back and Selangor defended in determined fashion in front of a partisan crowd.
The hosts should have taken the lead in the sixth minute. Jorge Pereyra Diaz was sent free to bear down on goal and with just Norazlan Razali to beat, shot straight at the goalkeeper. Ten minutes later, Safiq was further out on the edge of the area with less space but perhaps should have done better with a shot that cleared the bar.
New signing Juan Martin Lucero almost scored the first goal on his debut just past the midway point of the first half. A clever pass from Diaz found his Argentine counterpart inside the area.
Safiq had a better chance five minutes before the break, having time to pick his spot from the edge of the penalty box but the skipper's side-footed shot was too close to the goalkeeper.
The opening goal came on the stroke of half-time. A Safiq corner was fired into the near post and there was Hariss to head home in emphatic fashion.
Selangor had offered little goalscoring threat but that changed on the hour as the large contingent of travelling fans had a goal to celebrate.
Hafiz Kamal had a free-kick over on the right side of the pitch, a few yards away from the left corner of the JDT box. Most were expecting a cross into the danger zone as was Farizal Marlias.
The goalkeeper left too much of his goal vacant and was left scrambling in vain as Hafiz curled the ball into the empty side of the net. It was an opportunistic finish to take advantage of an unusual error of judgement from the Southern Tigers' number one.
JDT pushed forward in a search of the winner but eight minutes later, Safiq's shooting was once again off-target. The expected grandstand finish failed to materialise as neither team was able to fashion a clear-cut chance in the remaining 30 minutes of play.
The disappointment on the faces of the Johor players at the end suggested that they saw the result as two points dropped but there is still a lot of football to be played in the 2016 Malaysia Super League season.