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AFC Champions League

Mora wants JDT to keep pushing in the ACL

04:18 BST 22/05/2019
Diogo Luis Santo, Johor Darul Ta'zim v Gyeongnam, AFC Champions League, 12 Mar 2019
The Johor Darul Ta'zim head coach is asking for one big push from his players as they look to earn a place in the knockout stage of the ACL.

One more group match to go and JDT are still in contention to become the second team from Group E to reach the Round of 16, an idea no one had when the Malaysia Super League champions headed into their first ever foray in the AFC Champions League.

Gyeongnam FC stands in their way for a coveted place in the next stage of the most prestigious club competition in Asia and to carry on their dreams, JDT will have to do something they have been unable to do in the previous matches, which is to win away from home.

Two similar results in the away matches at Kashima Antlers and Shandong Luneng saw JDT narrowly beaten 2-1 but after an inspired 1-0 win over the former at Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium, JDT should be motivated and confident heading into the match at Changwon Football Center.

"It’s going to be a very good match because it defines the situation for the next round for one of the teams in the group. We came a long way to face a very strong team. When we played at home, we had a good opportunity to win but we didn’t. This match is a good opportunity to try again.

"We have been working a lot on the things to improve, one of it is set pieces as well as others. The opponent is strong because they have tall players and have scored in that phase of the set piece. We have to be focus in our man marking but we are also strong in the attacking phase of the set pieces.

"We have been up to the expectations of all the people have of JDT in our first ACL but we want more. Every time that we play good, we want to play better. We are ambitious and try to be a team that believes in ourselves. We have shown that we can compete with the best teams in Asia. The players have grown a lot in this competition and we must continue to grow," said Benjamin Mora in the pre-match press conference.

One thing which Mora will have to manage carefully will be the replacement for Safawi Rasid. The forward did not travel with the squad to South Korea due to his suspension after picking up his second yellow card in the group stage in that win over Kashima.

Safawi's absence is a big blow considering that he is one of only two players that JDT have in their ranks who have found the back of the net in away matches thus far, with Diogo Luis Santo being the other. In Safawi's stead, the options for Mora looks likely to be between Syafiq Ahmad or Akhyar Rashid.

Both have featured for the Malaysia U-23 in similar matches against Korean sides and will not be overwhelmed by the pressure of needing to get a result away from home. JDT have proven that they are capable of matching up to Gyeongnam as can be seen in the 1-1 draw played earlier in the competition and could well etch another piece of history come the final whistle on Wednesday.


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