Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) made heavy weather of their match against Magwe but did just enough to come from behind to win 3-1 and with that confirms their qualification to the knockout stage of the 2017 AFC Cup.
JDT as expected, fielded a side closest to their best XI with Gabriel Guerra, Safiq Rahim and Marcos Antonio on the starting team sheet. Gonzalo Cabrera misses out but R. Gopinathan was given another start in the competition. Meanwhile the away side went for a full local XI in their starting line-up.
The home side were given a rude awakening as early as the 2nd minute of the match when Magwe delivered a decent free kick into the box and JDT's defence went to sleep. Defender Kyaw Swar Linn popped up unmarked with the easiest of headers past the advancing Haziq Nazli to make it 0-1 to Magwe.
The Southern Tigers were shocked into action and started to impose themselves on the match. Gopinathan had a chance to score but took his shot too late after receiving a good pass from Safiq. But the home side would not have to wait long for the equaliser.
In the 15th minute, Guerra step up to drive his team back into the match. The Argentine dribbled past two Magwe players before unleashing a powerful shot from outside the box that gave Kyaw Zin Phyo no chance to save. A perfect response to even the match at 1-1.
Guerra who is also JDT's top scorer for the season thus far, had another to score after that but skies his shot high after good work from Azamuddin Akil on the right hand side, who wriggled his way past a defender before setting up Guerra with the chance.
Despite their dominance, Magwe could just as easily taken the lead with just six minutes left on the clock to half time. Aidil Zafuan decided it was the best decision to go to ground near the half way line and Cho Tun was able to nick in ahead of the JDT player to streak alone towards goal. However, his composure deserted him and Cho Tun could only send the ball over the bar even after rounding Haziq.
In the second half, Mora waited only 10 minutes before bringing Hazwan Bakri on for the ineffectual Gopinathan. Magwe were ready to defend the 1-1 score and set two banks of four in an attempt to thwart JDT.
JDT did take the lead in the 59th minute but it didn't come from Hazwan but from the combination of arguably the two players with the quickest brain in the home side. Safiq popped up on the right hand side and picked out Guerra's run from wide. The Argentine added to his tally with a superb glancing header that looped into the bottom corner to put JDT 2-1 up.
Magwe's heads dropped after that goal and it was a matter of how many more goals that JDT could get. The answer was just one more and through a spot kick at that. Swar Linn was adjudged to have clipped Safiq as the midfielder heads towards goal and Guerra converted to grab his hat-trick in the 78th minute to give JDT the 3-1 lead and what turned out to be the final score of the match.
Despite Global FC winning their own match against Boeung Ket, JDT's win meant that Magwe remained rooted to the bottom of the table. Which means JDT's initial 9 points gained from matches against Global and Boeung Ket was enough to take them through to the knockout stage, at the expense of Vietnam's Hanoi FC, as the best runners-up of the ASEAN zone.