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JDT make history by progressing into ACL play-offs, set to face Gamba Osaka

For the first time in their history, Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) has advanced to the AFC Champions League play-offs after winning 5-4 on penalties against Bangkok United.

The match ended 1-1 after extra time following goals from Safiq Rahim and Bangkok substitute Jaycee John.

Bangkok had the first real chance of the game when Dragan Boskovic played a great through ball from the left to Pokklaw Anan, but Farizal Marlias was able to save his shot from close range.

Bangkok’s high-pressure often had Johor on the backfoot, forcing them to pass back into their half and it took almost 20 minutes later for the game to see another chance on goal and it belonged to the away side.

Brian Ferreira was able to get past two midfielders and found Azammuddin Akil free on the right. With space, Akil’s curling effort was just over the bar.

Fadhli Shas had the next chance during Safiq Rahim’s corner after breaking free of his marker, but his header was well over.

Farizal then had to stand tall on the 36th minute after Dragan, despite being pressured by the JDT defense in the box, found a gap to shoot through, but Farizal was able to save the shot.

Akil again had another glorious chance a minute before half-time when Cabrera’s dink into the box ricochet off Brian’s leg, and the ball went to Akil who only had the keeper to beat, but his chip somehow went wide.

The second half started brightly with Dragan getting loads of space, but his shot went to the side netting after a bit of hesitance. JDT however, had two great chances spurned by the same player. Akil’s cross from the right found Brian in front of goal, but somehow couldn’t get the ball into the net.

Brian then attempted a punt from about 40 yards, but the ball just couldn’t go down in time. On the 72nd minute, Dragan caused problems to the JDT defense again as he laid a pass for Pokklaw who couldn’t sneak the ball into the near post.

The last chance in normal time belonged to Bangkok on the 82nd minute when Mika Chunuonsee’s cross found Dragan who couldn’t guide his header on target. With the match ended at 0-0, the game headed for extra time. It was only until the second half of extra time when JDT was given a gift.

Bangkok keeper Kittipong Phuthawchueak went off his line to prevent a corner, but Akil won the ball. With the goalkeeper so far from his goal in the right-wing, Akil passed it to substitute Jeronimo Barrales, whose mishit shot went into the air and into Safiq’s direction, in which the JDT captain headed into an empty goal.

But JDT went a man down after Barrales elbowed the back of Manuel Bihr’s head and was shown a straight red card.

Bangkok cranked up the pressure and finally got a reward in stoppage time where Mika’s knockdown header found substitute Jaycee John, who was able to turn around and shoot past Farizal to force the game into penalties.

Both sides were 4-4 after five spot kicks with Marcos Antonio blazing his kick over the goal and Dragan seeing his penalty saved as the shootout went into sudden death.

Substitute Nazmi Faiz was able score his spot kick, but Anthony Ampaipitakwong’s kick was saved brilliantly by Farizal, allowing JDT to advance into the next round. They will now face Gamba Osaka at the Suita City Stadium on the 7th of February.

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