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“They are the heart of JDT” – Mora thanks ‘Boys of Straits’ for unconditional support

Johor DT boss Benjamin Mora has promised the Boys of Straits that the club will be doing everything within its power to repay their support by pushing for an Asian Champions League slot in 2018.

The Southern Tigers were on step away from entering the Group Stages of the prestigious tournament, but their hopes were completely derailed on Tuesday night, as Gamba Osaka turned on the style to clinch a 3-0 win at the Suita City Stadium.

While JDT were visibly the second-best team on the day, it did not stop approximately 150 fans from Boys of Straits group from singing and chanting throughout 90 minutes, having travelled over 5,000km to showcase their support – something that touched Mora on an emotional level after the game.

“These guys are special. We are so far away from Johor Bahru and they are still here. They always go everywhere, no matter how far it is. I love them. We love them. But more importantly, we respect them,” Mora said, immediately after the match.

Photo Credit: FourthOfficial.com
Photo Credit: FourthOfficial.com

“So I want to apologize to them for not being able to give them joy by beating Gamba Osaka. But I promise you, we won’t stop. The process will take long, and the evolution will take time. But I promise we will be back at this stage, next year.

“In a football club, the only ones that are permanent are the fans. Without them, we can’t do much. Boys of Straits are the heart of Johor DT,” he added.

The match was billed as unfamiliar territory for JDT, as they were going to be playing against a significantly superior opposition, under intense cold weather. That said, the reigning Super League champions held their fort pretty well for the first 25 minutes or so, until a blitzkrieg attack from Gamba resulted in Ademilson breaking the deadlock. A few minutes later, the 2008 ACL winners doubled their lead, thanks to Nagasawa’s clinical finish.

After the break, JDT attempted to muster a comeback, but Gamba comfortably controlled the tempo before going on to add a third goal via Kenta Miura – effectively knocking JDT out of the competition. As a result, the Southern Tigers will compete in the AFC Cup for the third consecutive season and Mora is upbeat about their prospects of reigning supreme.

“We knew playing against Gamba would be difficult, but I respect my players. This is the first time they’ve faced such a rival. And yes, now we’re in the AFC Cup and we want to win. There are no doubts about that. We will continue working, we will continue improving. The effort never stops. We will continue to do everything we can to hopefully win the AFC Cup this year,” he enthused.

JDT have been slotted into Group F, alongside Magwe from Myanmar, Global FC from the Philippines and Boeung Ket Angkor from Cambodia. Their first fixture will be a home match against Boeung Ket Angkor on the 21st of February.


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