Global test for Darul Ta’zim

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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.

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