Tuesday, March 13, 2012

FOOTBALL: Johor FC jinx broken

New Straits Times Online

THE jinx has been broken. Johor FC won their first home match this season by knocking out five-time champions Selangor from the FA Cup second round with a 5-4 win in a penalty shootout after they were deadlocked 2-2 after extra-time last Saturday.

   It was certainly a "sweet win" for Johor FC as they played with only 10 men after Azi Shahril Azmi was banished for two yellow card offences as early as the 17th minute and 2-0 down after 56 minutes.

   In the two-legged quarter-finals, Johor FC will take on Premier League outfit Sime Darby with the first-leg (away) on March 24.

The return leg will be played at the Pasir Gudang Stadium on March 27.

   But the euphoria of beating Selangor takes a back seat as Johor FC prepare for a tough home match against T-Team who are also in the FA Cup quarter-finals after beating Pahang 3-2 at home.

   Team manager Wan Nizam Wan Omar believes that Johor FC are now in a "better frame of mind" to face T-Team and put the team back on track in the Super League after slipping to 11th following a 2-1 defeat to Sabah in Kota Kinabalu on March 3.

   "A place in the FA Cup quarter-finals has not only boosted our confidence but it has also lifted a burden off our shoulders.

"Before the win over Selangor,  we were unable score more than a goal at home ... even that was a struggle," said Wan Nizam.

   "Now that winless jinx has been broken, we are looking at better things to come for Johor FC, both in the league and the FA Cup.

"The players were tense each time we played at home because we collected only one point from four home matches played so far in the league."

   Wan Nizam described the match against Selangor as Johor FC's "best in terms of performance, character and fighting spirit" despite the numerical disadvantage.

      Wan Nizam is also pleased with his two Brazilian imports - defender Fernando Augusto and striker Arthur Henrique - who have settled down well.

  "Both Fernando and Arthur are assets. They have adapted well to the team and showing their brilliance in their respective departments.

"But our local players are still trying to adjust to their style of play. Given more time, Johor FC can only get better.

"The injured players are also coming on fine but Shafizan Hashim (leftback) is out for four months after undergoing knee surgery," added Wan Nizam. By J.J. Shah

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...