Mora’s side in the mood for Ceres clash
FORMER champions Darul Ta’zim hope to translate their recent fine form in the domestic league against Ceres Negros FC of the Philippines in the zonal semi-finals first leg of the AFC Cup at Larkin Stadium today.
However, Darul Ta’zim, who lead the Super League, may face anxious moments in defence as centre-backs Aidil Zafuan Radzak and Fadhli Shas are injured.
In their absences, the club need to choose among Dominic Tan, Amirulhadi Zainal and Hasbullah Abu Bakar to partner Brazilian centre-back Marcos Antonio in the heart of defence.
Dominic is a natural centreback while Hasbullah is a rightback with Amirulhadi more suited for the defensive midfield position.
Coach Benjamin Mora needs to decide on the best option as Ceres are equally good in attacking as Darul Ta’zim with each having scored 16 goals so far in the competition.
Ceres’ Bienvenido Morejon is the joint leading scorer with Darul Ta’zim’s Safiq Rahim with seven goals each.
The 20-year-old Dominic is a dependable centre-back and forms a good understanding with Antonio but tends to lose concentration when pressured.
“The good news is that Afiq Fazail will be available to play in the defensive midfield position and his duty will be to stop Ceres’ attacking players,” said Ismail.
“Dominic and Hasbullah have been promising in matches while Amirulhadi is an experienced player. I can partner any of them... it does not matter to me,” said Antonio
“Ceres are an attacking team and I believe they will not hold back tomorrow,” said Antonio, whose team will face Ceres again in the return leg in Panaad on May 31.
Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic is confident his team will give a good show and maybe end Darul Ta’zim proud record at home today.
“We have no injury issues. Darul Ta’zim are strong at home but we are prepared for them. We need to give our 100 per cent commitment and also play to our strength for a good result,” said Vidakovic.