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Shah Alam: Johor Darul Ta’zim were crowned Malaysia FA Cup champions for the first time in their history after beating PKNS FC 2-1 in Saturday’s final at the Shah Alam Stadium.

It was PKNS who got off to a dream start after five minutes when they were awarded a penalty, paving the way for Gabriel Guerra to send Izham Tarmizi the wrong way with an emphatic strike into the top corner.

But in the 16th minute, Darul Ta’zim were awarded a spot-kick of their own after Jorge Pereyra Diaz was brought down inside the box by opposition goalkeeper G. Jeevanathan, and captain Safiq Rahim made no mistake in converting from 12 yards.

Five minutes after the half-hour mark, Diaz put his side in front when a quickly-taken freekick saw him break free inside the box and, although his initial shot was blocked just before the line, the rebound fell kindly for him to lash a follow-up effort into the back of the net.

Despite their best efforts in the second half, PKNS were just unable to find a way past their resilient opponents, as Mario Gomez’s charges held out to win the first major piece of silverware Malaysian football has to offer in 2016.

The victory is almost certain to guarantee JDT continental football next year as, based on this year’s allocation, the FA Cup winners are handed a spot in the AFC Cup.

Darul Ta’zim are the reigning AFC Cup champions after beating FC Istiklol in last season’s final, and are currently through to knockout round of this year’s edition, with a Round of 16 clash with Philippines’ Kaya FC set to take place on May 25.

Photo: www.asiana.my

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