ISKANDAR PUTERI (BERNAMA) – It’s a new season, but the outcome is the same.
Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) scored a goal in each half to beat Kedah Darul Aman FC (KDA FC) 2-0 and retain the Charity Shield for the fourth straight season in a game played behind closed doors at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium on Friday night.
Goals from midfielder Muhammad Safawi Rasid and Spanish import Natxo Insa were enough for the Southern Tigers to claim the Shield for the sixth time in seven seasons since 2015.
The 2021 Malaysia League (M-League) season-opening victory also handed JDT all three points as they embark on a mission to claim the Super League title for an eighth consecutive time this year.
In the Charity Shield-cum-Super League match, coach Benjamin Mora’s players sounded an early warning of their intentions when they had two shots hitting the bar in a space of seven minutes through Leandro Velazques and Gonzalo Cabrera.
Not to be outdone, KDA FC, despite struggling to get their game going, nearly stunned the home team when a Tchetche Kipre’s acrobatic shot also hit the bar, as JDT goalkeeper Mohd Farizal Marlias stranded.
JDT opened accounts in the 34th minute when Safawi, after receiving a pass from Mohd Afiq Fazail, took a step before unleashing a stiff left-footed shot into the bottom left corner past the diving KDA FC goalkeeper Mohd Ifwat Akmal Che Kassim.
Despite having the upper hand, JDT had to wait until the 67th minute to double their lead when Natxo’s screamer from outside the box was deflected into the bottom right corner by Kedah’s Mohamad Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik.