Johor Darul Ta'zim FC clinched a seventh Malaysia Super League title after a 4-1 victory against Sabah FA on Friday. Johor Darul Ta'zim FC also secures a place in the group stages of the 2021 AFC Champions League, their third appearance in Asia's top continental competition.
JDT are now the most successful club in Malaysian football history, passing Selangor FA for the most Malaysia Super League titles. Johor's title have come in seven successive seasons since their rebranding in 2013.
The Southern Tigers' title celebrations were put on hold last week after a surprise 1-1 draw against Petaling Jaya City FC, but Benjamin Mora's men went into their fixture against relegation-threatened Sabah needing just a draw to secure the trophy at their new home.
Coached by Indonesian legend Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto, Sabah had climbed out of the relegation zone after a 3-2 win against Melaka United in their previous match and were desperate to stay out of the danger zone ahead of the final game. They defended resolutely against the reigning champions and Johor were forced to wait until the 38th minute to open up a well-organised opposition backline.
La'Vere Corbin-Ong unlocked the Sabah defence picking Afiq Fazail inside the box and the midfielder cut the ball back for Diogo Luiz Santo to give the Southern Tigers a 1-0 lead. South Korean defender Park Tae-soo's header rattled the crossbar for Sabah in the first-half injury time, but JDT's lead remained intact as the two sides went back to the locker rooms.
JDT doubled their lead after the restart as Safawi Rasid blasted a shot home after sent through on goal by Nazmi Faiz, who had replaced an injured Afiq. Sabah did reduce the deficit in the 74th minute when Thai forward Dennis Buschening curled one past Farizal Marlias and threatened to throw a spanner into their opponent's title celebrations.
But, Safawi, who is on the brink of a move to Portuguese side Portimonense SC, scored again to take his scoring tally to seven goals from his last five matches, after teed up by the young Ramadhan Saifullah who is expected to step into his shoes after his departure.
Argentine midfielder Leandro Velazquez then added a fourth from a freekick on a night when JDT underlined their dominance in Malaysia's domestic football scene once again.