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Super League

Figueroa ready to alter XI for tough first away trip

3:44 PM SGT 15/2/19
Luciano Figueroa, Johor Darul Ta'zim
The reigning Super League champions are seeking to win their third game in as many matches at the home ground of one of their supposed title rivals.

Johor Darul Ta'zim FC couldn't have hoped for a better start to their title defence of the Malaysia Super League after winning the opening two matches of the 2019 season. Perak and Kuala Lumpur were disposed off easily with the score of 1-0 and 4-1 respectively at the home comforts of Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium.

For the first time this season, JDT will be travelling for an away match and their first trip away will be the relatively difficult venue that is Terengganu FC's home ground, Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium. Sharing the top of the table with Pahang and Melaka as the only sides with a 100% record, JDT will be looking for maximum points in Kuala Terengganu.

Team manager Luciano Figueroa is understandably pleased with the showing of his team after two successive wins but is already looking to make changes to the team ahead of this third game. Syafiq Ahmad has deputised ably for Diogo Luis Santo but JDT's record new signing could make his first start in tonight's match.

"I'm very satisfied with the performance of the players, who played well in the recent match against Kuala Lumpur. I am not happy with the first half's display but they did better in the second half. They also managed to score four goals, which is not an easy feat. For the upcoming match against Terengganu, we will do our best and try to win the match to take home three points."

"Regarding our foreign players, they are good players. I hope they will give their best to Johor Darul Ta'zim FC (JDT). I will also make slight changes to the starting line-up from the Kuala Lumpur match. You will be able to see it tonight. We have players who are at a high level and can be fielded anytime. It is a good thing for JDT," said Figueroa

Despite only starting from the bench in the last two matches, Diogo has already got off the mark with a goal in the second half against KL in the last match. The Brazilian came with a big expectations having produced consistently for his last club, Buriram United.

Injury to Ignacio 'Natxo' Insa in the first game against Perak is another doubt for Figueroa to consider as the midfielder continue his recovery and may be short for this match. In his stead, Figueroa can choose from the duo of Syamer Kutty Abba and Afiq Fazail, with the latter seemingly being the more preferred choice at the moment.

In the 2018 season, JDT won 0-1 in Kuala Terengganu in the Super League but Terengganu exacted revenge in the Malaysia Cup by reversing the score. Figueroa will be wary that any dropped points against Terengganu could see Pahang or Melaka open up a gap to them in the league heading into the fourth round of fixtures.


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