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Johor: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) enjoyed a timely boost ahead of their crucial AFC Champions League 2015 Preliminary Round 1 match with Bengaluru with a 2-0 victory over Pahang to claim the 2015 Malaysia Super League-opening Charity Shield on Saturday.

Brazilian defender Marcos Antonio opened the scoring in the 37th minute when he headed home his first goal for JDT since joining the club in April last year to replace Singaporean defender Baihakki Khaizan before Luciano Figueroa, who was part of Argentina’s 2004 Olympic-gold winning squad, also found the net with a header, with the 33-year-old forward’s goal just before the hour mark sealed the win.

JDT’s victory saw them gain a modicum of revenge for their penalty shootout defeat to Pahang last year’s Malaysia Cup final, which qualified the Elephants to the 2015 AFC Cup where they have been drawn to face Hong Kong’s South China, tournament debutants Global FC from the Philippines and either Yadanarbon or Yangon United depending on the former’s fortune in the AFC Champions League playoff phase.

The Southern Tigers will be looking to bring their Charity Shield winning form into Wednesday’s continental clash in Johor and take a step closer to a first appearance in Asia’s premier club competition with victory over Bengaluru in the first stage of the playoffs.

The winners of the intriguing encounter between the Malaysia Super League champions and a Bengaluru team that their first Indian title just a year after formation in 2013 will advance to Preliminary Round 2 where they will face Bangkok Glass in Thailand six days later. China's Beijing Guoan await the victorious side in the Playoff on February 17, with a coveted place in the 2015 AFC Champions League Group Stage up for grabs.

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