BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
Johor Darul Ta'zim's (JDT) journey in the 2017 AFC Cup continues with an away trip to Cambodia to play Boeung Ket on Wednesday evening. The 2015 AFC Cup champions currently sits three points ahead of their opponents but trails Philippines' Global FC by two points.
The match against Boeung Ket is the first of the last two matches in Group F to be played for JDT. These two matches are undeniably the easier matches after two consecutive match-ups against Global that ended with a win each.
In the first encounter played in February at Tan Sri Hj Hassan Yunos Stadium in Johor Bahru, JDT recorded a comfortable 3-0 win with goals from Gabriel Guerra, Nazmi Faiz and Safiq Rahim. As the OPTA statistic shown below, it was a match that JDT controlled right from the get go and could have scored more had they been more clinical.
After last weekend's 2-1 over PKNS FC in the Super League, a win that extended JDT's lead at the top of the table, Benjamin Mora is likely to make changes for the match against Boeung Ket. Much like the away trip to Magwe FC in March, Mora will reshuffle his squad to ensure that there's still gas left in the tank when they take on Pahang later in the week.
Izham Tarmizi should replace Farizal Marlias in goal while Marcos Antonio could make way for Aidil Zafuan. In attack, this is a very important match for one Brian Ferreira. With the Malaysian transfer window opening up soon, he is short on time to prove that he deserves to stay with the Southern Tigers.
Boeung Ket has not had the best of times against the top two in Group F. They also lost to Global earlier in the competition with a 2-0 score. Manager, John McGlynn will have a tough task on his hand as he attempt to guide his team to a surprise win over JDT that could get them into the next round.
However, having only scored one goal through Khuon Laboravy in the four matches that they have played thus far, goals are at a premium for the Cambodian side. The other goal that is credited to their name was an own goal scored in the match against Magwe.
Provided JDT do not let their guard down and be complacent against Boeung Ket, this is can only have one winner. A win on the road will put JDT in contention to qualify for the next stage of the AFC Cup - whether as group champions or as the best placed runners-up.