Aidil, Cabrera on target as JDT beat Kedah to win first Malaysia Cup
Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) landed the elusive Malaysia Cup after Aidil Zafuan and Gonzalo Cabrera struck in either half for a 2-0 victory over defending champions Kedah in the final on Saturday night.
The triumph, in front of a capacity crowd of 80,000 at Shah Alam Stadium, means that the Southern Tigers have now won all domestic honours in Malaysia since being rebranded in 2012.
It was also their eighth trophy across four seasons.
After the teams had drawn both their league games this season, another tight encounter was on the cards for this epic clash.
Kedah started with all their big guns, with Ken Ilso leading a front three, supported by Sandro Da Silva, with Liridon Krasniqi as their creative link.
Ulisses Morais, meanwhile, went for some surprise selections, starting with Aidil Zafuan to partner Fadhli Shas in central defence.
Gary Steven Robbat was given the holding role instead of Afiq Fazail, and Ahmad Hazwan Bakri led the line in favour of Lebanese hit man Mohammed Ghaddar, who was benched.
The game exploded to life in the third minute when Aidil Zafuan rose highest to power home a Safiq Rahim corner past Ifwat Ikmal, giving JDT a 1-0 lead.
The goal couldn't have come at a better time for the defender, who notched his first strike of the campaign in his 22nd start.
Kedah were stung and looked jittery, consigned to possession deep in their own half.
Gabriel Guerra almost doubled JDT's advantage in the 21st minute, but the Argentine forward was denied a certain goal by a stunning save from Ifwat.
The game turned into a stop-start affair, with plenty of niggling injuries disrupting the flow.
Natxo Insa smashed the side netting as JDT closed out the half the stronger of the sides.
Kedah started the second half in encouraging fashion. Ilso had a strong penalty claim turned down after he was felled by Aidil in the box.
Baddrol Bakhtiar proivded Kedah's best chance on 55 minutes, but saw his header tipped onto the bar by Izham Tarmizi's quick reaction.
Cabrera put paid to Kedah's hopes of a comeback when he expertly turned home Hazwan's low cross just after the hour mark.
The Argentine's strike cemented his big-game credentials, having netted three of JDT's last four goals in the competition.
But Kedah could have pulled one back immediately if not for Baddrol's shocking miss.
Sandro Da Silva's low cross had left the entire JDT defence flat-footed, but the midfielder somehow hit the post when it seemed easier to score.
His sitter capped a miserable night for the Red Eagles, who were playing in their third consecutive Malaysia Cup final.
Johor Darul Ta'zim: Izham Tarmizi (GK), Safiq Rahim (C), Fadhli Shas, Aidil Zafuan (Junior Eldstal 59'), S.Kunanlan,Gary Steven Robbat (Afiq Fazail 57'), Gabriel Guerra, Natxo Insa,Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Gonzalo Cabrera, Fazly Mazlan (Azrif Nasrulhaq 85')
Kedah: Ifwat Akmal (GK), Zachary Anderson, Badddrol Bakhtiar (Farhan Roslan 78'), Khairul Helmi Johari (C), Rizal Ghazali, Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik, Syazwan Zainon (Fitri Omar 81'), Ariff Farhan, Ken Ilso, Liridon Krasniqi, Sandro Da Silva (Akram Mahinan 82')