JDT beat Selangor to top Malaysia Cup group, face Melaka United next
A brace by Lebanese import Mohammed Ghaddar ensured Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) finished as Group D champions after a 3-1 victory over Selangor in the Malaysia Cup at Larkin Stadium on Saturday night.
It was also their landmark 40th home victory, a record built since 2015 when they fell to Felda United in the Malaysia Cup quarterfinals.
But the Southern Tigers had already lost twice to Selangor away from home this season, and they came into this match intent on avoiding a third straight reverse.
The hosts took only 16 minutes to surge into the lead through Ghaddar, who finished off Gonzalo Cabrera's through ball with aplomb.
But it did not take long for the hosts to regain their lead through midfielder Gary Steven Robbat, who was making a rare appearance.
The Southern Tigers continued to dominate the visitors after the break, with Cabrera shooting just wide from a good position in the 71st minute.
Ghaddar then sealed the points four minutes later with JDT's third goal.
Selangor tried in vain to reduce the deficit through Andik Vermansyah, but the Indonesian winger was denied by JDT goalkeeper Izham Tarmizi.
JDT will now face Melaka United from Group C in the quarterfinals.
The Mousedeers were confirmed as runners up, despite losing 5-3 to Premier League's UiTm FC.
Kedah disposed Kelantan 2-0 to finish as Group C champions.
Goals from Sandro Da Silva and Ken Ilso meant the Red Eagles will face Selangor in the last eight.
Pahang also qualified for the knockout stages after they edged T-Team 3-2 in Group A, thanks to goals from Matheus Alves, Nor Azam Abdul Azih and Yamil Romero.
Negeri Sembilan failed to put pressure on the Elephants after managing only a goalless draw against PKNP FC.
Awaiting Dollah Salleh's side in the last eight are Perak, who finished top of Group B after a 2-1 victory over Felda United.
The defeat means Felda will face Group A leaders PKNP in the knockout round.
Other results saw Terengganu and Sarawak draw 3-3 in Group D, while Kuala Lumpur beat PKNS FC 2-0 in Group B.
Johor Darul Ta'zim: Izham Tarmizi (GK) (C), Hasbullah Abu Bakar, Gabriel Guerra, Gonzalo Cabrera, S. Kunanlan, Gary Steven Robbat, Nazmi Faiz, Mohammed Ghaddar, Junior Eldstal, Natxo Insa, Fadhli Shas
Selangor: Norazlan Razali (GK), Razman Roslan (C), Andik Vermansyah, Rufino Segovia, Saiful Ridzuwan Selamat, Adam Nor Azlin, Francis Forkey Doe, Ugo Ukah, Syahmi Safari, Amri Yahyah, K. Kannan
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.