Global test for Darul Ta’zim
COACH Benjamin Mora’s vision is to turn Darul Ta’zim from “great” to “phenomenal” but their unbeaten run at Larkin Stadium will be severely tested by Global of the Philippines in today’s AFC Cup Group F match.
Despite injuries, Global, who lead the group with six points, aim to end Darul Ta’zim’s dominance at home. The homesters are second with four points.
Toshiaki Imai’s side have been based in Johor Baru since the 2-0 win over Beoungket Angkor in Phnom Penh on March 7 to prepare for the game.
For the record, Darul Ta’zim have not lost at Larkin Stadium since the 2-1 defeat to Felda United in a Malaysia Cup match on Nov 28, 2015. They have also recorded 10 wins and two draws at home since the 2015 AFC Cup edition.
Global captain Misagh Bahadoran thanked Darul Ta’zim for the hospitality but warned the former AFC Cup champions that his team intend to return to Manila with three points.
“It is Darul Ta’zim who are under pressure as their fans will be expecting them to win tomorrow. We will give them a hard time,” said Bahadoran at the pre-match conference in Johor Baru yesterday.
“We have only a few players available due to injuries but we are not going to make this as an excuse. We will give 100 per cent as we want to remain at the top of the standing.”
“We will not be negative tomorrow as we do not want to lose this match.”
Imai regards Darul Ta’zim as a very big club in Southeast Asia and singled out Argentines Gabriel Guerra and Gonzalo Cabrera along with striker Ahmad Hazwan Bakri as the Malaysian club’s most dangerous players.
“We are ready to counter their strengths. We have injuries issues but it will not stop us from playing good football,” said Imai.
Mora praised his players for doing a good job this season despite playing 13 matches in the last 45 days.
“My team possess a mentality of champions that does not permit us to lower the bar. We want to go from being great to phenomenal.
“We must win tomorrow at all cost. My team will give a good performance and also play good football. We are ready to fight like it is a final.
“We have done our homework on Global and I have reminded the players not to underestimate them. They must give full commitment,” said Mora.