Danger awaits Darul Ta’zim
Ta’zim are in danger of exiting the AFC Cup when they play Ceres Negros of the Philippines in the zonal semi-final return leg in Bacolod City today.
The former champions only hold a one-goal advantage following the 3-2 win in the first leg at Larkin Stadium on May 17.
Ceres, who did not field a single Filipino-born player in the first leg, believe they can overturn the result and reach the zonal final.
The Malaysian side have a mediocre record on the road with only one win in three matches while Ceres have notched two wins and one draw at home.
Darul Ta’zim may have problems in defence as centre-backs Aidil Zafuan Radzak and Fadhli Shas did not travel with the team.
Marcos Antonio is the only natural centre-back and the Brazilian is expected to partner Dominic Tan, Hasbullah Abu Bakar or Amirulhadi Zainal in the heart of defence.
Argentine striker Gabriel Guerra is eager to find the net today following a bad day in the first leg.
“I want to score goals tomorrow. But we need to be cautious.
“Ceres are built around Spanish forwards Bienvenido Maranon and Fernando Rodriguez along with midfielder Manuel Ott, and we need to pay attention to the three players,” said Guer- ra, who has netted seven goals in the competition.Maranon and Rodriguez were Ceres’ goal scorers in the first leg.
Darul Ta’zim face a further handicap as they have only three available foreigners in Antonio, Guerra, and attacking midfielder Gonzalo Cabrera.
New signing Mohammed Ghaddar cannot play as the transfer window for the AFC Cup only opens later in the season.
Coach Benjamin Mora said: “We only have a one-goal advantage and playing defensively will be risky. We cannot give space to Ceres as they are aggressive. They are a team that are not afraid to go forward and score goals.