Morais looks to shore up defence ahead of Terengganu meeting

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JDT has a chance to secure passage to the knockout phase of the 2017 Malaysia Cup should they overcome Terengganu on Tuesday

There are only two rounds of Malaysia Cup group stage fixtures left to be played and in Group D, the final spot remaining from the group could be taken up after tonight's match between Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) and Terengganu. 

The Southern Tigers are in second place, four points ahead of the Turtles after Selangor had managed to qualify to the quarter final stage after last weekend's round of fixtures. JDT only need to ensure that they would not lose against Terengganu and they would join Selangor in the last eight.

Ulisses Morais took no chance in the last match against Sarawak as he opted to start with his strongest available XI in a match which they won 2-0. That selection scenario is unlikely to be repeated seeing as they will go up against Selangor on Saturday in a match that could clinch them their fourth straight Super League title. 

"Our preparation for the match against Terengganu tonight has been going well. Of course we want to secure one of the two spots to qualify for the next round of the Malaysia Cup."

"We are aware that Terengganu are a good team. That's why we expect tonight's match to be among the difficult ones because they surely want to win to get three points. Tonight's game is also our chance to book our slot in the quarter-finals.

"As for tonight's starting line-up, we have decided to choose players who can defend our goals better. However, as I said previously, mental and physical preparation aren't enough, as we also need motivation and support from fans to increase the team's confidence level when facing our opponents," said Morais in a statement released through the club's social media page.

The Portuguese if of course referring to the fact that JDT will be without key centre back Marcos Antonio for the rest of the season after it was confirmed that the Brazilian had suffered an ankle-cruciate-ligament injury that will require surgery. 

Aidil Zafuan is expected to come into the side to replace Antonio, to partner Fadhli Shas in the heart of the defence. Without the leadership of Antonio, Morais may decide to go with the usual S. Kunanlan and Fazly Mazlan at  the full back positions.

Changes could be afforded further forward in the team where the likes of Hazwan Bakri, Nazmi Faiz and Azamuddin Akil could all feature right from the start as Morais could keep an eye on the weekend's fixture. With the match against Terengganu being a home fixture at Tan Sri Hj Hassan Yunos Stadium, Morais knows that he could take a little more risk than usual.

Should JDT wrap it up tonight, they will reach the next stage of the competition after missing out in 2016 when they were concentrating their efforts in the AFC Cup competition. As it stands, JDT are likely to come up against Kedah in the quarter final stage but they could still overtake Selangor to finish top of the group should the last two matches go their way.

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