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AFC Champions League

Hariss wants JDT to show the ACL-believe once again

08:36 IST 23/04/2019
Hariss Harun, Shandong Luneng v Johor Darul Ta'zim, AFC Champions League, 9 Apr 2019
The JDT captain is calling for his team mates to show the confidence gain from 3 prior competitive performances in the ACL.

Going into their debut season in the 2019 AFC Champions League, many thought that Johor Darul Ta'zim will find the step up hard but in every single one of the three matches they have played thus far, JDT have more than shown that they do belong at this level.

Similar 2-1 narrow defeats on the road to Japan's Kashima Antlers and China's Shandong Luneng sandwiched a dominant home performance in the 1-1 draw against South Korea's Gyeongnam FC proved that JDT have what it takes to not only offer resistance to these teams but also to put them on the back foot.

JDT have scored in each of the three games they have played and Hariss Harun feels that the entire team has been lifted by their performances in the competition and that inferiority complex does not exist for them despite making their maiden voyage in the competition.

"We have to be ready for the games that come thick and fast. It’s not just the physical aspect but also the mental aspect as well. I think the boys believe in themselves and each other a bit more after playing three games and showing that we can compete. Of course sometimes there are little mistakes here and there.The boys have the belief now and with the crowd behind us, we’ll give it our best shot.

"We can take encouragement from the few games that we not only scored but we created plenty of chances as well. They are quite a tall and physical team which we will try to counter but as much as possible we’ll like to impose our game as well," said Hariss in Tuesday's pre-match press conference.

But the task on Wednesday will not be an easy one, particularly when Mauricio dos Santos is likely to be out injured. The big Brazilian's presence in defence is much needed by The Southern Tigers against the more bigger built Chinese team who has Marouane Fellaini and Graziano Pelle in their fold.

Should the former Lazio man not be able to recover sufficiently, his place in the team is likely to be taken by Aidil Zafuan who could partner Adam Nor Azlin at the heart of JDT's defence. Head coach Benjamin Mora is still hopeful but isn't afraid to show his faith in other players if the situation calls for it.

"He (Mauricio) started to train slowly yesterday. It’s not very severe what he has. He’s recovering minute by minute but we’ll have to see how his condition is in training and see what’s best for him and the club. But we have some players who are very tired and some small pains which came from the packed schedule in April because we played in three parallel competitions. Who have to see who is in the best shape and condition to play," said Mora.

JDT go into this home clash against Shandong in last place in the group with only one point earned thus far. If they habour any hope of reaching the next stage of the competition, picking up their first win will be crucial to their cause.

 

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