JDT held to shock draw as champions Kedah romp in Malaysia Cup
A much-changed Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) failed to find the net for only the third time this season after they were held to a goalless draw on the road against second-tier side Terengganu in a Malaysia Cup Group D match on Friday night.
At Shah Alam in Group C, Kedah were on fire against UiTM FC as they strolled to a 5-0 victory.
Syafiq Ahmad and Liridon Krasniqi scored in the first half for a comfortable lead before Danish import Ken Ilso marked his return to the team with a strike in the 80th minute.
Sandro Da Silva and Arriff Farhan then put gloss to the scoreline in added time to mark a perfect start to Kedah's title defence to stay top of the group.
At Sultan Nasiruddin Shah Stadium, JDT's new coach Ulisses Morais put his faith in an entirely all-local cast, with some fringe players given the chance to impress the new man.
Injury-plagued Junior Eldstal started in central defence, alongside Aidil Zafuan, with young defender Hasbullah Abu Bakar operating at right-back.
Up front, English-born Darren Lok led a front three, supported by Safawi Rasid and Azamuddin Akil.
Terengganu's Ivory Coast striker Tchetche Hermann Brice went for goal midway through the first half, but failed to test rookie goalkeeper Narul Haziq.
Amirulhadi Zainal also saw his shot comfortably clear the bar before the action began to pick up pace.
Nazmi Faiz, given a rare start by Morais who managed him during a brief stint at Portugal's Beira-Mar, had a great opportunity to open the scoring in the 35th minute.
But the former Selangor man only managed to hit the crossbar, with Terengganu goalkeeper Suffian Rahman beaten.
Five minutes later, it was Tchetche's turn to rattle the woodwork as the teams headed to the break goalless.
After an inspired 1-1 draw away to Selangor on Tuesday, the Turtles were optimistic of getting a result against the Southern Tigers, and they upped the tempo.
Firdaus Faudzi fizzed a shot just wide in the 59th minute before Gabriel Davis forced Hazip into action two minutes later.
But the sides cancelled each other for a stalemate out as Group D remains open, with Selangor and Sarawak yet to play their second matches.
In an earlier game, new signings Gilmar Jose and Leandro Dos Santos repaid some of their signing fee with goals as Perak thrashed Kuala Lumpur 3-0 to sit top of Group B.
Former Kelantan and Sarawak Gilmar struck on the hour mark before Leandro added a second in the 72nd minute.
Gilmar went on to complete the victory with to make it 3-0 seven minutes from time as Mehmet Durakovic's men maintained their good recent form with three wins in as many matches after the international break.
Group A saw PKNP FC hold Pahang to a 1-1 draw while Negeri Sembilan and T-Team battled to a 3-3 thriller.
JDT: Haziq Nazli (GK), Fazly Mazlan, Aidil Zafuan (C), Junior Eldstal, Shakir Saari (Azrif Nasrulhaq 47'), Safawi Rasid, Fazly Mazlan, Nazmi Faiz, Darren Lok, Azamuddin Akil, Habullah Abu Bakar
Terengganu: Suffian Rahman (GK), Lazaro Vinicius (C), K. Partiban, Gabriel Davis, Issey Nakajima-Farran, Faiz Nasir, Hafizal Mohamad, Nasrullah Haniff Johan, Firdaus Faudzi, Tchetche Hermann Brice, Azi Shahril Azmi
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.