Down and out: Too late, too late as battling South China exit AFC Cup after quarter-final defeat
Caroliners lose 2-1 in second leg of last eight tie and 3-2 on aggregate in clash with Johor Darul Tazim of Malaysia
The jeers rained down on South China from the Johor Darul Tazim ultras fans, and their players provided the necessary ammunition to apply the killer blows.
Eventually, it was two second-half goals that allowed the defending champions from Malaysia to progress to the semi-finals of the AFC Cup, winning the tie 3-2 on aggregate after a 2-1 second-leg victory on Tuesday night.
‘We will send you to hell’ – Johor Darul Ta’zim’s ultra fans’ promise to South China captain Chan Wai-ho in AFC Cup quarter-final second leg clash
The Johor fans had vowed to target visiting captain Chan Wai-ho but they also didn’t spare striker Chan Siu-ki and the referee as their team continued a dominance over South China that started with last year’s victory at the same stage.
A crowd of more than 17,000 packed the Larkin stadium in Johor Bahru, hoping their heroes would humiliate the likes of Chan Wai-ho – who earned the wrath of JDT fans for his part in a bitter first leg that finished 1-1, with posters saying “Send 15 to Hell” circulating on Facebook.
Watch: Johor Darul Tazim v South China
n the end, the 2-1 scoreline flattered South China, who held steady in the first half but were unable to contain wave after wave of JDT attacks after the break.
JDT dominated the first half, as they did at Mong Kok Stadium last week, but were unable to turn their superior possession into goals.
South China goalkeeper Tsang Man-fai saved a penalty from JDT captain Safiq Rahim in the 60th minute.
But the Caroliners were helpless to stop Juan Martin Lucero side-foot home the winner after 67 minutes.
Lifeline for Caroliners: South China grab late equaliser to stay alive in the AFC Cup quarter-finals
Jorge Pereyra Diaz made it 2-0 with three minutes left when he leaned back to head in a corner. Nikola Komazec’s injury-time consolation strike for South China was not enough.
JDT then hit the crossbar twice, through Fazly Mazlan and Azinee Taib, with Akil Azammuddin having crashed an effort against the bar in the first half.
JDT coach, Mario Gomez, who used to coach South China, said: “We played very well, it was a tough match but the main thing was that we made goals. That was very important and now we are going to enjoy this victory.”
The Southern Tigers now go on to face either Singapore’s Tampines Rovers or India’s Bengalaru in the semi-finals.