KUALA LUMPUR: Seven-time Malaysian Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), have failed to advance to the knockout round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League after losing 1-2 to Nagoya Grampus, tonight.
Following the fourth defeat in the campaign at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, JDT failed to secure top two finish in Group G of the continent’s premier club level competition.
In tonight’s match, Nagoya Grampus did not wait long to take the lead, when Mateus Castro converted a penalty as early as the fourth minute, after sending stopper Muhammad Haziq Nadzli into the wrong direction.
The Japanese side was handed a penalty after its Brazilian striker, Mateus was brought by JDT defender Adam Nor Azlin inside the box.
The Grampus extended the lead through Hiroyuki Abe’s curveball in the 29th minute.
The Southern Tigers managed to reduce the deficit in the 42nd minute with Muhammad Ramadhan Saifullah’s follow-up strike, after La’Vere Corbin-Ong’s long range effort was blocked by stopper Mitch Langerak, ending the Japanese side’s clean sheet in the campaign.
Earlier, home side Ratchaburi FC tied 0-0 with Pohang Steelers at the same venue.
In the last group stage fixtures on Wednesday, JDT are set to face Ratchaburi FC, while Nagoya Grampus will be looking to forward to keep their 100 per cent winning record in the group stage when facing Pohang Steelers.
JDT started the campaign with 0-1 defeat to Nagoya Grampus, before bouncing back with 1-0 victory against Ratchaburi FC of Thailand, however succumbed back to back defeats against FC Pohang Steelers, losing 1-4 and 0-2 to the South Korean team in the previous matches.
After five matches, JDT are now placed third with three points, below Nagoya Grampus (15) and Pohang Steelers (10), while Ratchaburi remained in the bottom with one point. Only the 10 group winners and three runners-up from each region (west and east) will advance to the knockout stage.