League champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) scored a crucial away goal in the second half as they drew 1-1 with Perak in the semifinals of the Malaysia Cup on Sunday night.
Mohamad Hasbullah Abu Bakar's first half own goal put Perak in front in the first leg, but JDT equalised after Shahrom Kalam's lapse allowed Mohammed Ghaddar to score midway through the second half.
It was also a 1-1 draw in Jengka where Felda United hosted 2016 winners, Kedah.
Sandro Da Silva's penalty earned Kedah an away goal, but Hadin Azman's late equaliser gives the Fighters a fighting chance in Alor Setar for the second leg on Oct. 21.
In Ipoh, JDT came into the match boasting 12 different scorers, but were aware of Perak's prowess.
The Bos Gaurus had already beaten their visitors 2-1 in the league in February, and were intent on whipping up another big result in front of a partisan 30,000 crowd.
The Southern Tigers had the first chance as Natxo Insa saw his angled drive palmed away at the near post by Hafizul Hakim.
Perak were fast to launch a counter attacks, a strategy that led to their opening goal in the 18th minute.
Gilmar Jose's through pass for Zaquan Adha was hastily intercepted by JDT left-back Mohammad Hasbullah, and the defender's attempt to pass back to Izham Tarmizi ended in the bottom corner.
JDT were stung, and they responded through Safiq Rahim's snap shot that was tipped away by Hafizul.
But Perak had their tails up, and could have gone 2-0 up before half-time if Nazirul Naim's delivery from a free kick hadn't been so wasteful.
JDT were expected to be more aggressive after the interval. While they did boss possession, Perak were more than comfortable to contain them, and hit on the break.
Perak had a golden chance to double their lead in the 65th minute, but Zaquan Adha's header hit the back of S. Kunanlan with the JDT goal gaping.
Two minutes later, the home side were made to pay for that miss as Ghaddar leveled to make it 1-1.
The Lebanese striker stole in to slot past Hafizul after Shahrom's schoolboy error let him through on goal.
Perak went to sleep again, and Ghaddar almost punished them again minutes later, if not for Hafizul's brave intervention.
With the clock ticking down, the game opened up. Tt was Perak who almost regained their lead through Zaquan in the 78th minute, but his driving run and shot forced a big save from Izham.
JDT could have snatched a second away goal in the dying stages through Junior Eldstal, but the result still favours them ahead of Saturday's return leg.
Johor Darul Ta'zim: Izham Tarmizi (GK), Safiq Rahim (C), Fadhli Shas, Junior Eldstal, S.Kunanlan,Gary Steven Robbat (Afiq Fazail 60'), Gabriel Guerra, Natxo Insa,Mohammed Ghaddar, Mohammad Hasbullah, Gonzalo Cabrera (Safawi Rasid 81')
Perak: Hafizul Hakim (GK), Shahrom Kalam (C), Nazirul Naim, Nasir Basharuddin, Ahmad Khairil Anuar, Kenny Palraj, Gilmar Jose, Amirul Azhan, Thiago Junior, Zaquan Adha, Shahrul Saad