Hong Kong’s South China AA travel to the Larkin Stadium tonight knowing they must score at least once if they are to progress to the AFC Cup semi-finals. We take a look at some of the key players from both sides and how they could affect the outcome.
Johor Darul Ta’zim
The Singaporean international put in a composed first-half performance in Hong Kong, lying deep and protecting the back four while distributing the ball to his teammates on the breakdown. South China will be looking for a goal, so Hariss’ job will be to break up attacks and quickly recycle the ball to enable Diaz and company to break quickly.
The Argentine forward showed why he is the club’s top scorer with some great interplay with strike partner Juan Martin Lucero, going close on several occasions. His goal was somewhat fortunate and South China keeper Leung Hing Kit should have saved it, but Diaz’s twists and turns in the box as he made space for the shot showed the instincts of a real predator. South China need to score and will be pushing for a goal at the Larkin, so this could create some gaps for Diaz to exploit.
The big Brazilian defender will need all his years of experience to hold the JDT backline together against an experienced South China attack. A poor clearance from Antonio led to Nikola Komazec’s goal in the first leg so the 33-year old will be looking to avoid any repeats if JDT are to progress and successfully defend their title.
The South China skipper will need to keep his cool tonight after being lucky not to receive a red-card last time out as the officials failed to see him throw a punch at Diaz during a late melee. Chan and defensive partner Bojan Malisic face a Johor attack that is deadly on home ground and Diaz will no doubt be looking to put Chan under pressure early on. With JDT’s vociferous ultras promising to target Chan following last week’s scuffle, the Hong Kong international is in for a raucous reception and will have his hands full both on and off the pitch.
— Boys Of Straits (@BoysOfStraits) September 15, 2016
Chan Siu Ki
Hong Kong Chan striker is back on form after suffering a number of injuries last year and will be looking to be the hero again. With 36 goals in 62 international games for Hong Kong, Chan is a proven threat and made a big difference when bought on as a second-half substitute in the first leg, pressuring the Johor defence as the home side sought the leveller. Rambo may well choose to start the 31-year old after last week’s impressive cameo appearance.
The Cameroonian forward posed problems for the Johor defence during the first leg, particularly in the second half as South China pushed forward looking for an equaliser. The 25-year old’s pace was a constant threat and he caused problems for JDT left-back Fazly Mazlan all night. He could have grabbed an equaliser when put through from a short free-kick in the first half only to snatch at the opportunity, and had another effort saved by Tarmizi in the second half. The JDT defence will need to keep a tight rein on Awal’s attacking threat.