JDT will start as favourites in their second Group G match against Ratchaburi in this AFC Champions League encounter.
When Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) take to the field against Ratchburi tonight, they will be experiencing something which they have not done in the three seasons (including last year where they withdraw after two matches) that they have played in the AFC Champions League – starting the match as favourites!
Previous matches saw the Southern Tigers pitting their strength against Japanese, Korean and Chinese sides but for the first time in the history of the competition, a Malaysian team will face a Thai team in the group stages where arguably JDT are the more fancied team to be picking up three points.
Neither team goes into this match in the best possible mood after JDT were edged out 1-0 by Nagoya Grampus on Tuesday with Ratchaburi also suffering a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Pohang Steelers. No doubt both sides will be looking at this fixture as the easiest of the three they have to face in Group G.
|10:00 pm||Friday, 25 June 2021||Rajamangala Stadium|
TV channel and Live Streaming
|Astro CH815 (Fox Sports)|
|Astro Go (stream)|
Benjamin Mora has no injury concerns from the opening match against Nagoya and will have a full squad to select from. With Safawi Rasid still struggling for form following his recent return from injury, that could be one area where the Mexican might look to change things up, with Ramadhan Saifullah and Akhyar Rashid being the options.
Sek-san Siripong has one eye on centre back Pawee Tanthatemee who is nursing an injury from their first game against Pohang but otherwise also has a clean bill of health to choose from. Steveen Longil, Sanrawat Dechmitr and Junior Emia Mapuku are expected to be the attacking threat for the Thai side.
What the coaches said
“Now we turn the page because we need to look forward to the next game. Ratchaburi is more similar to Malaysian football even though Thai League is still a higher level as a league in my opinion. We watched their game against Pohang and we think that we have a good opportunity to do something good if we work together like we did against Nagoya.
“My expectations always are to win because that is how we need to think. We need to expect victory because this is why we come to compete and then 95 minutes anything can happen.”
“Obviously we want to show that we can compete with the best teams in the continent and I believe we will show that on the field tomorrow. We had some issues in the game against Pohang and I believe the players suffered a case of nerves playing their first match of the AFC Champions League.
“This is a new experience for the team and the players are looking forward to their next match against Johor Darul Ta’zim. The Malaysian team have a similar style of play to ours and we are familiar with their approach. Johor Darul Ta’zim are a difficult team to play against but I believe in my players and their abilities.
“We are playing at home and the players know this and they are ready to show what they are capable of tomorrow. At the end we want to show to everyone that Ratchaburi is one of the best Thai teams in the competition.”
Results thus far
|22 Jun 2021||JDT 0-1 Nagoya|
|22 Jun 2021||Pohang 2-0 Ratchaburi|
|3||Johor Darul Ta’zim||1||0||0||1||0||1||-1||0|
Due to the fact that only the group winners are guaranteed a place in the next round of the competition, the opening day defeat to Nagoya did not help JDT’s cause but there are still five matches to play including this one against Ratchaburi where JDT could look to gain points.
Past meetings v Thai teams
|10 Feb 2015||Bangkok Glass 3-0 JDT||ACL Preliminary Round 2|
|2 Feb 2016||Muangthong 0(3)-(0)0 JDT (pen)||ACL Preliminary Round 2|
|31 Jan 2017||Bangkok United 1(4)-(5)1 JDT (pen)||ACL Preliminary Round 2|
|23 Jan 2018||Muangthong 5-2 JDT||ACL Preliminary Round 2|
With JDT only qualifying to the group stages on merit from the 2019 season onwards after helping Malaysia achieve a high enough AFC rankings points, their previous encounters against Thai teams have only come in the qualifying stage of this competition where for four straight years, a Thai team stood in their way.
Only once out of those four matches did JDT achieve success to move on to the playoff round, that came in the 2017 season when they edged out Bangkok United through Nazmi Faiz’s decisive spot kick in the shootout after both teams could not be separated following 120 minutes of football.