JOHOR BARU: Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) have crawled their way up to the summit for the first time in four months since the season kicked off on Jan 20.
And they intend to stay there until the end of the season.
JDT shot to the top in dramatic style when they fought back from two goals down to edge Kelantan 3-2 at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru on Wednesday.
Kelantan led 2-0 through a brace by Lebanese striker Mohamad Ghaddar (fifth, 15th) before JDT hit back with goals from skipper Safiq Rahim (19th), Gabriel Guerra (29th, pen) and Gonzalo Cabrera (30th).
And that has left the Southern Tigers’ head coach Benjamin Mora a relieved man.
The Mexican took over the helm from Argentine Mario Gomez, who resigned barely two days before the start of the season.
Mora struggled to make an early impression, with the three-time champions sitting in ninth spot at one stage.
But after Wednesday’s win, JDT lead the standings with 20 points from nine matches. Pahang and Kedah are joint second with 19 points.
“Our target this season has always been to top the league,” said Mora, who applauded his players’ fighting spirit against Kelantan.
“We knew it would be a difficult game … Kelantan pushed us from the word go and I told my players to stay sharp for the first 25 to 30 minutes.
“Unfortunately, they scored two early goals but all credit to my players for responding well .. it shows their character.”