Thai outfit Muangthong United will look to forge new ground when they host Kashima Antlers at Supachalasai National Stadium in their AFC Champions League Group E encounter on Tuesday.
Making their return to the continental competition for the first time since 2013 last week, the reigning Thai League T1 champions secured a highly encouraging scoreless draw away at Brisbane Roar in their group stage opener.
Spurred on by home ground advantage, they will look to build on that performance with a maiden victory in the tournament against Kashima Antlers – though doing so will be no easy task.
The J.League champions are coming off an impressive 2-0 victory over 2012 AFC Champions League winners Ulsan Hyundai courtesy of goalscorers Mu Kanazaki and Yuma Suzuki, and are certain to provide their Thai opponents with a very stern test indeed.
— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) February 21, 2017
Muangthong should head into the match in confident mood, however, not only because of their credible away draw in Australia last week, but also their 1-0 victory at BEC Tero Sasana in the Thai League T1 over the weekend.
Striker Adisak Kraisorn scored the decisive goal to end a lengthy six-month injury lay-off that saw him sidelined for the domestic run-in, and the World Cup qualifiers.
They will also be boosted by the presence of Thailand star Chanathip Songkrasin, who impressed in his AFC Champions League debut last week, earning the man of the match award against Brisbane Roar for his enterprising play and constant and lively presence all over the park.
Meanwhile, the Antlers are coming into the match a little wounded after a suprise 1-0 loss at home to FC Tokyo on the opening day of the J.League season.
Muangthong will be aiming to expose any possible vulnerability against their vaunted Japanese opponents, with the leading spot in Group E up for grabs.