Malaysia Cup final '50-50' says JDT striker Mohammed Ghaddar
Mohammed Ghaddar believes the winning mentality of Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) will make the difference in his career after helping the league champions book their place in next month's Malaysia Cup final against Kedah.
Ghaddar was relatively quiet by his sharp standards in the 3-0 semifinal, second-leg victory over Perak on Saturday at Larkin Stadium.
But he had scored the crucial away goal in the 1-1 draw in Ipoh last Sunday.
It was the turn of his attacking compatriots Gonzalo Cabrera and Gabriel Guerra to provide the firepower as JDT set up a Nov. 4 date at Shah Alam Stadium.
The Lebanese forward already has already lifted the Malaysia Cup, having triumphed with former club Kelantan in 2012.
And, at the age of 33, Ghaddar feels the fully professional environment suits him perfectly after joining JDT from Kelantan in May.
"Everything is good in JDT. The facilities are great. We have some amazing players and we have a great leader, who is always motivating us," Ghaddar told ESPN FC.
"Kedah will be difficult, no doubt. The final for me is 50-50, but if we play well, we will be victorious. We don't have any injuries, and hopefully we can have a full team for the final."
Despite playing for 13 other clubs throughout his career, Ghaddar's trophy cabinet is made up mostly of silverware from Malaysia, having been part of Bojan Hodak's treble-winning side in 2012.
He is also on the verge of being crowned the league's top scorer this year, having netted at total of 23 times, for Kelantan and JDT.
JDT will meet Kedah in an unofficial dress rehearsal for the Malaysia Cup final on Saturday in their last Malaysia Super League (MSL) match.
Kedah were equally impressive in their 3-1 aggregate victory over Felda United in their home-leg semifinal, scoring two late goals to see off the visitors 2-0 at Darul Aman Stadium.
JDT defender Junior Eldstal believes both sides will hold back when they face off in Alor Setar this Saturday.
"We have already won the league, so we will be smart in our approach. We won't show too much, and I'm sure they won't show too much. I think the final league game won't be much of a test, but we know what we're up against," Eldstal said.
JDT head coach Ulisses Morais plans to field a strong team against Kedah in the prelude to the Cup final.
But with so much at stake just seven days later, the league match could be more of a psychological battle.
Kedah also have little to play for, sitting fourth behind Felda on the table, and having already won the Malaysia FA Cup title to confirm their participation in the 2018 AFC Cup.
They drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture in January. It doubled up as the Charity Shield, which Kedah clinched on penalties.
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.