Johor Darul Ta'zim have officially stamped their authority on Malaysian football by winning their third domestic title of the season on Saturday, seeing off Selangor FC 2-1 to clinch the 2022 Malaysia Cup at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium. The Malaysia Cup title completed JDT's first-ever treble, with the Southern Tigers having already won the Malaysia FA Cup and the Liga Super Malaysia titles this season.
JDT's historic treble meant that they are only the third Malaysian team to have won all three domestic titles in a single season, after Kedah FA's legendary double treble team of 2007 and 2008 as well as Kelantan FA's class of 2012.
The Southern Tigers' third Malaysia Cup title was well-earned as they were made to fight for the title, having gone behind before coming back and clinching victory at the end of the day.
Gunning for their record-extending 34th title, Selangor immediately assumed control and threatened Farizal Marlias' goal as early as the 2nd minute, with Mukhairi Ajmal going off-target.
The Red Giants took the lead in the 43rd minute after JDT defender Matthew Davies had fouled Caion within the area, prompting the referee to award Selangor a penalty. Former Thai League striker Caion took it upon himself to dispatch his penalty and he made no mistakes whatsoever from the spot, beating Farizal with a well-taken penalty.
Going a goal down did not deter JDT's spirits, in fact it had the opposite effect. Determined to turn things around, JDT started to impose their presence in the match and just before half-time the Southern Tigers equalized - Bergson easily heading in a Arif Aiman corner into Khairulazhan Khalid's goal.
JDT's revival continued into the second half, with the Southern Tigers clinching their winner in the 59th minute.
Once again Arif was the inspiration behind the goal, finding Bergson with a pin-point pass before the Brazilian finished things off. Khairulazhan managed to parry the incoming shot, however the goalie was blind-sided by Fernando Forestieri who easily tapped in the rebound into the goal.
JDT hung onto their slender lead all the way into full-time, completing a remarkable season that saw the Southern Tigers not only win all three domestic titles, but also going undefeated in all three domestic competitions.
In fact, the only teams who got the better of JDT this season were Japanese giants Kawasaki Frontale and Urawa Red Diamonds, seasoned campaigners in the AFC Champions League who are much more superior than the Southern Tigers on-paper.
JDT's triumph meant that Sabah FC, who won bronze in the 2022 Liga Super, earned the right to participate in the 2023/24 AFC Cup group stages. The Rhinos will participate in Asia's second-tier cup competition alongside league runners-up Terengganu FC, while JDT will once again represent Malaysia in the AFC Champions League group stages.