The Perth Glory came away the victor in its high profile international friendly fixture in Malaysia overnight, defeating Johor Darul Takzim 2-0 at the Larkin Stadium in Johor Bahru.
Johor Darul Takzim who sit in third place in the Malaysian Super League provided another strong pre-season hit out for the West Australian outfit, in a game that was played with good intensity and in a wonderful atmosphere generated by the vocal and passionate local fans.
Steven McGarry converted a penalty in the 35th minute after Ryo Nagai who was a constant thorn for the locals was felled after following up on a powerful shot from outside the box that JDT goalkeeper AL-Hafiz Hamzah failed to hold onto. The exciting Japanese winger had put the ball in the back of the net earlier in the piece but was deemed to be offside by the assistant referee.
Both teams enjoyed strong passages of play with JDT particularly early in the encounter failing to capitalise on some good chances. In the 8th minute striker Safee Sali was put through on goal by team mate and national captain Safiq Rahim but rather uncharacteristically put in a very poor attempt on goal.
In the the 21st minute, Aidil Zafuan fired in a long range thunderbolt after being awarded a free kick only to see the ball pass agonisingly close past the goal post.
Safiq Rahim also went close from a set piece in the second half with Danny Vukovic tipping a curling free kick headed for the top left corner over the bar. And the Glory custodian was called on to do similarly to a Nunez attempt not long after.
Right at very the death the Glory doubled the lead with 21yr old Ndumba Makeche continuing his good run of pre-season form. The young striker who was unmarked had the relatively simply task of knocking in a header from close range following a knock on from a corner kick.
After much pre game hype, star JDT recruit, former Inter Milan, Villareal and Argentine legend Pablo Aimar failed to make his debut, in what was the only downside to what was otherwise a competitive encounter played in good spirit.
The Perth Glory’s next pre-season fixture is Wednesday the 21st of August v WA State Side, Intiga Stadium, Inglewood in the “Call to Arms Cup” raising awareness for the Cancer Council. Kick Off is 7pm, $10 Adults, $5 Junior & Concession.
PG McGarry (pen) 35'
PG Makeche 93'
JDT: Al-Hafiz; Nazri, Aidil, Kamarul, Tharmini (Izuan 56'); Azwan (Ramli 75'), Andre (Azman 79'), Safiq, Thanaraj; Norshahrul, Nunez (Ezrie 60')
Perth: Vukovic; Risdon, Jamieson, Pantelidis; O'Neill, McGarry, Nagai, Burns; Maclaren, Harold, Zahra
Larkin Stadium, Johor Bahru
Crowd : Approx 30,000