Antonio confident that Dominic can rise to the occasion

Marcos Antonio is happy to take on the role of leader to young Dominic Tan as they prepare to start tomorrow's clash against Ceres

For the second match running, Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) will look to field Marcos Antonio alongside Dominic Tan at the heart of the defence and it will be the biggest game for the budding centre back as it's the AFC Cup ASEAN zone semi-final against Ceres-Negros FC.

Severe test for JDT in the AFC Cup ASEAN zone semi-final

The vastly more experienced Antonio however, believes that Dominic has strengths in his game that would not hamper JDT. The only other match which the two of them have played together this season was the 1-1 draw against Melaka United two weeks ago.

When asked if over the course of these two weeks, there have been any improvement in their partnership and understanding of each other's game, Antonio was adamant that they have got better as a pairing.

"Yes of course. After Melaka game, we have few training sessions together. I think tomorrow he can do a good job. He's a young player but a good player. He can help us a lot," said Antonio at the pre-match press conference.

JDT need to be wary of Ceres' shooting from distance

However Antonio also understands that being the senior partner, the onus is on him to be the guide and leader to Dominic as well as the rest of the team. Despite Dominic's relative inexperience, Antonio believes that his young partner can withstand the pressure of the match on Wednesday.

"Sometimes during the game I can talk all the time. Dominic is young but he has improved a lot and I think he's ready for tomorrow," explained Antonio.

Yet Antonio remains wary of Ceres but wants his team to take full advantage of the home tie and ensure that they do not suffer the same collapse they have been suffering in recent matches with concessions of late goals.

"The more important is that we need to concentrate 90 minutes until the last minute. Tomorrow we need to give our best because we play in Larkin," added Antonio.

Ceres's right side is the weak link in their defence that JDT must exploit