JDT aim to cap season with Malaysia Cup win

JDT coach Ulisses Morais (second right) and his club captain Mohd Shafiq Rahim (right) hold the trophy with their Kedah counterparts, coach Nidzam Adzha (second left) and skipper Khairul Helmi during a press conference. — Bernama photo

SHAH ALAM: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) head coach Ulisses Morais wants to close the season in style by winning the Malaysia Cup title when his side takes on defending champions Kedah at the Shah Alam Stadium tonight.

The 57-year-old Portuguese who guided the squad to retain the Super League title for the fourth consecutive season, however, is aware of the threat from Kedah, based on two previous meetings between both sides, this season.

JDT lost 4-5 to Kedah in a penalty shoot-out after both teams were tied 1-1 in regulation time of the Charity Shield match at the Larkin Stadium on Jan 20, while the second meeting in the Super League match on Oct 28, at the Darul Aman Stadium, saw both sides share the spoils in a scoreless draw.

“The final is a different ball game and for sure, we will give our best to win the Cup which we have never won but Kedah also certainly wants to keep the Cup which they won last season,” he told a pre-match press conference at the venue yesterday.

Morais said despite missing the services of Brazilian centreback Marcos Antonio due to a serious knee injury, he was confident other players like Aidil Zaquan Abdul Radzak and Mohd Fadhli Shas would be up to the task to stop Kedah’s ferocious attack led by their imported duo – Liridon Krasniqi of Albania and Brazilian Sandro da Silva.

Marcos was ruled out until the end of the season after picking up an ankle-cruciate-ligament (ACL) injury during their Super League match against  Perak at the Larkin Stadium.

Meanwhile, JDT skipper Safiq Rahim hopes to be third time lucky after having lost in two previous Malaysia Cup finals when playing for Selangor in 2008 and JDT in 2014.

“This will be my third Malaysia Cup final and I hope to be on the winning side after suffering the disappointment of finishing as runner-up twice before.

“It does not matter whether we win it in 90 minutes, extra time or a penalty shoot-out,” he said. — Bernama

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