Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) have a chance to put some daylight between them and their opponents on the day when they meet Pohang Steelers in the third fixture for both sides in this AFC Champions League (ACL) Group G match as both teams goes into this game separated only by goal difference.
Advantage must be taken over the club that holds the joint-most ACL title wins, who must still be reeling from the 3-0 defeat suffered at the hands of Nagoya Grampus in the previous game and who will be without a key defender serving a one-match suspension.
The 1-0 win over Ratchaburi puts JDT in a solid position heading in the completion of the first round of group matches and with Bergson, Leandro Velazquez and Arif Aiman all in good form heading into this match, three points against a tough Pohang side must be the target.
|10:00 pm||Monday, 28th June 2021||Rajamangala Stadium|
TV channel and Live Streaming
|Astro CH816 (Fox Sports)|
|Astro Go (stream)|
Having made some attacking changes for the Ratchaburi game, Benjamin Mora is likely to adopt a more cautious approach against the Koreans, with the possibility of Safiq Rahim moving back to the bench and Afiq Fazail coming in to shore up the midfield and offer more protection alongside Natxo Insa.
Kim Gi-dong has picked almost the same line-up in the opening two matches with only two changes despite back-to-back 6pm kickoffs and could be having players not at their best fitness levels particularly due to the fact they had to play the last half an hour against Nagoya with just 10 men. Defender Shin Kwang-hoon will definitely not be available as he sits out due to a red card picked up against the Japanese side.
What the coaches said
"Motivation is the most important thing in any sport. You need to know what you want and how to get what you want. We are in a very good situation mentally and emotionally because we are very happy to see the team competing in a very good level. We know Pohang are a very good team participating in a very good league in the Korean League. We are expecting the same as before, a tough game against a very tough team.
"Indeed we have created many chances to score in the last game but unfortunately we couldn’t convert most of them. But we are sure that we have the possibility to create them. So we are going to continue in the same vibe and objective, to be a team that wants the ball, a team that wants to generate the possibility. And it’s about improving the finishing and it’s possible because we have the quality in the team."Goal
“We had a meeting after the last match (against Nagoya Grampus) to make assessments and even though we lost, we still managed to stick to the game plan. As you know, the red card completely changed the aspects of our performance but the team is now focused and ready to take on the next opponents.
"Of course we have seen their past two games but it’s best to focus on ourselves and our key strengths so that we can get the three points. Tomorrow's (Monday)match is very important and all the players are in tune to have a good game. The team is emotionally in a good condition and we’re emphasising on the positive aspects to prepare for the next match.”
Results thus far
|22 Jun 2021||JDT 0-1 Nagoya|
|22 Jun 2021||Pohang 2-0 Ratchaburi|
|25 Jun 2021||Nagoya 3-0 Pohang|
|25 Jun 2021||Ratchaburi 0-1 JDT|
|2||Johor Darul Ta'zim||2||1||0||1||1||1||0||3|
Winning the previous game had helped JDT move up into second place which could potentially see them through to the knockout stage of the ACL if they eventually end up among the best three second-place finishers from the five East Zone groups. Currently JDT are fourth in that list but only on goal difference to the three teams above them.
Past meetings v Korean teams
|12 March 2019||JDT 1-1 Gyeongnam||Group Stage|
|22 May 2019||Gyeongnam 2-0 JDT||Group Stage|
Officially it's only these two matches on record in the competition but there was another which was played and won last year by JDT when they ousted Suwon Bluewings 2-1 in the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium's first big bow in the ACL, but of course the records were expunged after JDT were forced to pull out of the competition when it resumed due to travel restrictions imposed by the Malaysian government.