Preview: Lao Toyota FC v Johor Darul Ta’zim

Johor Darul Ta’zim will look to continue their winning streak when they travel to Laos to face Lao Toyota FC in an AFC Cup match on Wednesday.

The defending champions have won all three of their Group H encounters and will look to continue that trend at the New Laos National Stadium.

JDT opened their 2016 account with an 8-1 drubbing of Myanmar outfit Ayeyawady United. They then earned a narrow 1-0 win away from home at Bengaluru FC before thrashing Lao Toyota FC 3-0 last month.

As a result, the Malaysian superstars are riding high at the top of Group H on nine points, six ahead of Ayeyawady in second.

While coach Mario Gomez has nothing but a win in mind, the Argentine revealed that he would not be fielding a full-strength team.

“For us it’s another very important game because we have nine points and we need maybe a point more for the next round, but we want to win tomorrow, this is important for my team,” said Gomez.

“We have no injuries but maybe we will rest three or four players, but we have very good players to come in.”

Key to Johor’s success has been the form of skipper Mohd Safiq Rahim who is the tournament’s leading scorer with eight goals.

However, Johor are not untouchable, as they are coming off a 2-2 draw against Kelantan on the domestic front. After seven matches, they are second on the Malaysia Super League table.

Meanwhile, Lao Toyota FC got their continental campaign off to a bright start with a convincing 2-1 over Bengaluru FC. However, they have conceded seven goals and netted just twice in their last two fixtures. This leaves them bottom of Group H.

Lao Toyota FC can find solace in the fact that they are tied on three points with the two team above them, so even a draw on Wednesday could do the club wonders.

Lao coach Valakone Phomphakdy has said that self-belief will be key to his side registering a positive result.

“We are in good shape to get important points and we hope we still have the chance to reach the next round,” he said.

“Johor is an impressive club, one of the best in ASEAN with many quality players, but if we believe in ourselves and our qualities we will be able to make big things happen.”

Lao will be without suspended Japanese defender Takahiro Saito after his red card against Johor last time out.