ISKANDAR PUTERI – Johor Darul Ta’zim thrashed Perak FC 8-1 (agg. 12-2) in the Semi-Final of the Malaysia Cup 2023 and booked a ticket to the final. A series of goals from Bergson, Heberty, Arif Aiman, Forestieri and Syafiq Ahmad secured the final spot after defeating Perak FC in yesterday’s match.
“Today, we are delighted to win. First, I want to congratulate Perak FC, the team that came to the Semi-Final and played football, which helps this country to grow. When you try to play football, and you try, because in the end, it is about trying, knowing what you do, and not wasting the time that maybe other teams do. I appreciate that. Talking about us, we played a perfect game. In the first half, it was tough. We knew it. We were waiting for this. And I like the most that we played at a high standard.”
Esteban continues to praise all the players who never refused to run on the field, pressing and letting the time pass, dominating the game entirely.
Asking about facing either KL City or Terengganu, Esteban said he is not in the place to pick a team to play. “I am here to talk about my team. I am focusing on the ACL and what we can do in ACL. We will focus back on the title after finishing playing the ACL group stage. We want to get this Malaysia Cup title.
The 35-year-old winger or forward, Heberty Fernandes, one of the goal scorers yesterday, received a series of praises from his head coach, Esteban Solari, stating that he is pleased with his performance.
“We were pleased with Heberty because he is a player committed to the team. We are looking for this kind of player for our team. In football, you sometimes have quality players who are not committed to the team. Heberty is an example of not only a good but a quality player. You see him running back to defend, not just to get back to the players but to recover the ball. He sets the standard very high for everybody else because he’s a 35-year-old player and never stops running. And for that, I am pleased. I am very pleased with the others too. Like I said, everybody shows their efforts today.”
JDT will play against Korea’s Champion, Ulsan Hyundai, on 7 November 2023. When asked about the preparation made for the ACL game, he said they are focused game by game.
“Ulsan has a lot of good players, and it will be a tough game. But we are believing in our chances. We know that we will prepared for the game. But the best is to gather yourself, and the things will come along.”
Super sub-Syafiq Ahmad scores two goals in the game after being substituted for the game. The head coach said he can count on Syafiq when he’s available.
“I know it’s tough for Syafiq Ahmad, as he has no minutes. JDT has many quality players so it will be difficult. JDT has 41 players: eleven played, eight on the bench, and the rest. Sometimes, he’s on the bench but not in the game. But I know I can count on him. Today, he showed his quality. I hope that he will be called to the National Team. Akhyar Rashid did well today; the same goes for Badak – Sharul Saad was good after suffering a hand injury. I cannot say one-by-one, but I am happy for all the players.”
Esteban hopes there will be no injuries for the players as they will play Ulsan on the 7th of November.
Natxo Insa remains unavailable due to the recovery process, and the same goes for Leandro Velázquez. The club hopes Natxo will be available at the end of the year, while for Leandro, it appears he won’t be available for this season anymore.
Johor Darul Ta’zim will face KL City or Terengganu FC for the final of the Malaysia Cup 2023. While of ACL, JDT will play in their home against Ulsan Hyundai (KOR) on the 7th and 28th against Kawasaki Frontale (JPN) away, and BG Pathum (THA) in the JDT’s home.