BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) continues their busy April schedule with a trip to Cambodia to play Boeung Ket on Wednesday in the fifth group match of the 2017 AFC Cup. The Southern Tigers goes into the match in confident mode after opening up a three points lead in the Super League following their 2-1 win over PKNS FC on Saturday.
With the amount of traveling needed, head coach Benjamin Mora isn't left with much choice in terms of his team selection. There's an important home FA Cup second leg against Pahang on Sunday before traveling up North to face Penang on Wednesday.
The Mexican indicated that he is left with no choice but to shuffle things around with an eye on the fixture at the weekend. Izham Tarmizi, Azamuddin Akil, Aidil Zafuan and Nazmi Faiz could be among those that are likely to get a run-out.
"We have to recover the players. We're going with a full squad but I'm going to give some rest to the some of the players that I'm going to need for Pahang," said Mora after the PKNS win.
JDT's last two away trips in the regional competition didn't end so well, especially the changes made in an earlier game against Magwe FC that cost them two valuable points. Mora is respectful of the home team and doesn't want his team to underestimate the Cambodian side.
"I'm going to try to be intelligent in the strategy. The preparations is always continuous. We had a little change of tactical against Kelantan because we put two holding central midfielders and it worked for us. Because when we play away, others teams are stronger because of their pitch, people and country."
"So we're going to be cautious and we're going to be orderly. We're not going there to defend but I think we need to be careful because we need the three points. We're like to play good football but at this time, unnecessary for us," added Mora.
Because one group in the ASEAN zone of the AFC Cup has only three teams, at the end of the six group matches, the matches involving the team that finished last would not be counted. The way things stand, that team looks likely to be Magwe.
Should that stay the same until the completion of the group matches, it would be mean at this point in time, JDT are actually above Global in the standings as both will be left with two wins and a defeat but the Malaysian team have a superior goal difference comparatively.
Thus, it was understandable in that sense that Mora isn't unduly worried about what happens elsewhere. He only want to push his team to end the group stage with two more wins and that should be sufficient to take them through to the next round, at the worst case scenario as the best second placed team.
"I don't worry about other teams. We don't worry about Global. We need one point to qualify but we want three. Not only three but we want six but Magwe FC at home," explained Mora.