Malaysia Super League champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) boosted their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the AFC Cup after a comfortable 3-0 win over Cambodia's Boeung Ket Angkor in a Group F clash at the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night.
Early goals from Safawi Rasid and Nazmi Faiz put the visitors in the driving seat, before substitute Gabriel Guerra sealed the three points deep into injury time.
JDT put out an under-strength side with foreigners Guerra and Gonzalo Cabrera left on the bench, while the inspirational Safiq Rahim did not even make the matchday squad.
Even so, the Southern Tigers got off to a superb start by scoring inside eight minutes.
Nazmi's defence-splitting pass picked out Safawi, who rounded Boeung Ket goalkeeper Sou Yaty before slotting into an empty net.
JDT PLAYERS ARRIVAL | NATIONAL OLYMPIC STADIUM, PHNOM PENH | APRIL 19TH, 2017 pic.twitter.com/oNbKGsm8S8
- JOHORSouthernTigers (@OfficialJohor) April 19, 2017
Benjamin Mora's side made it two in the 26th minute. Nazmi coolly lobbed Yaty from the edge of the box after the latter had raced out of goal unsuccessfully to intercept a long ball.
The visitors could have ended the first half 3-0 up when winger R. Gopinathan was felled in the box, but Azamuddin Akil's penalty was turned around the post by Yaty.
Boeung Ket tried their best to reduce the deficit in the second half. But the Cambodians lacked finishing in the final third to trouble young JDT custodian Haziq Nadzli.
JDT were largely on top of proceedings and finally put the result beyond doubt two minutes into injury time. Guerra, who came on as a 80th-minute substitute for Safawi, produced a clinical finish after a breakaway.
The Malaysian giants now have 10 points from five matches, two behind group leaders Global FC who beat Myanmar's Magwe 4-2 in an earlier game.
JDT will host Magwe on the final matchday on May 3, while Global entertain Boeung Ket.
Boueng Ket Angkor: Sou Yaty (GK), Sun Sovanrithy, Chhun Sothearath (Sok Peng 78'), Sok Sovan, Sath Rosib, Hikaru Mizuno, Ly Mizan (Math Yamoin 61'), Rous Samoeun, Maycon Calijuri (Ly Vahed 70'), Tomoki Muramatsu, Khuon Laboravy (C)
Johor Darul Ta'zim: Haziq Nadzli (GK), S Kunanlan, Aidil Zafuan (C), Dominic Tan (Fadhli Shas 70'), Fazly Mazlan, Azamuddin Akil (S Chanturu 46'), Shakir Shaari, Mahali Jasuli, R Gopinathan, Nazmi Faiz, Safawi Rasid (Gabriel Guerra 80')