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Johor Darul Ta'zim

How JDT could line-up against Muangthong United

06:56 SAST 2018/01/22
Bruno Soares, Johor Darul Ta'zim
A new centre back is in line for his first competitive start for Johor Darul Ta'zim in a winner take all night at SCG Stadium in the ACL preliminaries

Following the high of witnessing the Malaysia Under-23 team breaking records en-route to a place as one of the Top 8 teams in Asia, the next attempt to put the country on the Asian map falls on Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT).

The Southern Tigers are in their third straight AFC Champions League preliminary round, having only once broken through this stage to reach the play-off. Last year's match against Gamba Osaka was a new milestone for the reigning Super League champions and they will be looking to at least repeat that feat.

In their way are Thailand's Muangthong United, who themselves were part of the group stage participants in the ACL last year. Muangthong gave a very good account of themselves by reaching the last 16, besting the likes of South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai and Australia's Brisbane Roar in the group stage.

Which all makes the task of Ullises Morais and his boys all the more tougher when they take to the field at SCG Stadium tomorrow.

Compared to how the team usually look like towards the end of last season, the core of the side have been retained and Morais could only be looking to make a few changes for the important qualifier.

New signing Bruno Soares looks set to start in defence alongside Fadhli Shas, with Fazly Mazlan and S. Kunanlan as the full backs. Further up should see the reintroduction Hariss Harun back into the team, at the base of the midfield.

Up front, fan favourites in Luciano Figueroa and Jorge Pereyra Diaz are expected to dovetail to find the goal necessary to take JDT to the next stage. Hazwan Bakri, Darren Lok and Syafiq Ahmad competes for the other remaining slot with the former Selangor forward tipped to make the cut.