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No Safiq, no problem as JDT's thumping rout ends Kaya's AFC Cup run

Lagardère Sports/AFC

By Philip Maranan

JOHOR BAHRU--Kaya's acclaimed AFC Cup run has come to an end as they were thumped 7-2 by Johor Darul Ta’zim in the last 16 tie late Wednesday evening at Larkin Stadium in Malaysia.

Argentine forward Juan Martin Lucero bagged his hat-trick for the Southern Tigers who stomped their class against as they march on to the quarterfinal for the second straight season of the competition for manager Mario Gomez, who have rested Malaysia standouts such as skipper Safiq Rahim, Farizal Marlias and Safee Sali.

OJ Porteria and Woody Ugarte scored consolatory strikes for Kaya gaffer Joel Villarino as the United Football League's participation in the continental contest ended in a rain-drenched match in the upper part of the strait near the causeway.

The holders' goalfest began in the 14th minute as Lucero curled in a free kick from a good spot.

Nine minutes later, fellow Argentine Jorge Pereyra Diaz doubled JDT’s lead as he tucked in a penalty conceded by Alfred Osei.

Former Pahang winger, Azamuddin Akil tucked in their third goal off a great pass from Diaz in the 33rd minute and seven minutes later, bagged his brace as JDT practically sealed their progression to the last eight with a four goal edge at the break.

Eight minutes into the restart, OJ Porteria got one back for Kaya as he took advantage of Aidil Zafuan’s poor clearance in the box.

Just as Kaya scored, the Malaysian powerhouse quickly replied with Lucero scoring immediately from kickoff for his brace.

Substitiute Mahali Jasuli gave JDT their sixth goal in the 69th minute as he blasted his shot to the net. And two minutes later, Lucero completed his hat-trick.

Despite the blowout, Ugarte gave Kaya their second two minutes from full-time but it was a case of too little, too late for the debutants as they gallantly bow out of the competition after coming in as runner-up in Group F.

Follow him on Twitter: @ipemaranan