AFC Champions League 2019: 5 key facts ahead of Johor Darul Ta’zim vs Gyeongnam FC

Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim talks 2019 targets for Johor Darul Ta’zim

Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) will make their home debut in the AFC Champions League 2019 when they face Korea Republic’s Gyeongnam FC at the Larkin on Tuesday. 

JDT lost to defending champions Kashima Antlers 2-1 in the opening matchday, while Gyeongnam were held to an entertaining 2-2 draw by Chinese Super League outfit Shandong Luneng.

So, here are five key facts as both teams head into the match looking for their first win in the continental competition.

1) JDT should build on the performance against Kashima

Highlights – Kashima Antlers vs Johor Darul Ta’zim

JDT can take inspiration from their inspiring display against ACL 2018 champions Kashima in their campaign opener as they gave a tough fight for the Japanese giants at the Kashima Soccer Stadium last week. Kashima opened the scoring with a touch of fortune in the 43rd minute before Serginho made it 2-0 in the second half.

However, the Southern Tigers’ Diogo scored in the final minutes of the game to make it 2-1 on JDT’s debut in the AFC Champions League. They might not have won any point in Japan, but they did prove that they have the players to compete with some of the best in Asia. Now, making their home debut in front of their fans at Johor Bahru, can they register there first point(s) in the ACL? We will find out soon!

2) Malaysia make history in elite Asian football

Johor Darul Ta’zim will become the first-ever club from Malaysia to a host an AFC Champions League game when they take on Gyeongnam at the 30,000-seater home of JDT.

In doing so, Malaysia will become the 19th different nation to host a game in the history of the competition.

3) JDT custodian Farizal’s eventful ACL opener! 

AFC Champions League 2019: JDT goalkeeper Farizal Marlias saves Kashima Antlers penalty kick from Serginho (15′)

It is safe to say that JDT goalkeeper Farizal Marlias was a very busy man in their 2-1 defeat to Kashima on the opening day. He first committed a silly foul to concede a penalty very early on in the game, but atoned for it by saving the spot kick from Serginho.

In doing so, he became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty in the ACL this season. However, JDT would hope Farizal comes up with a solid display in between the sticks on Tuesday when they face Gyeongnam looking to grab their first points in the competition.

4) Southern Tigers have to be wary of a former Premier League star! 

Gyeongnam have some big names among their ranks, but one player who will need JDT’s undivided attention will be former England youth international Jordan Mutch who will look to dictate the play from the midfield.

Mutch, the former Crystal Palace and Cardiff City star, had 103 touches on his AFC Champions League debut against Shandong Luneng — that number was only bettered by four players in the opening matchday. And that proves that he will be a huge threat for JDT at Larkin on Tuesday.

5) Diogo the key for JDT! 

AFC Champions League 2019: Kashima Antlers 2-1 JDT (Diogo 80′)

One player who the Malaysia Super League champions will want to be firing on all cylinders in the game will be that of the Brazilian attacker Diogo. The former Buriram United star was brought in to strengthen the Johor squad ahead of their ACL debut and he proved he has a lot to offer to the club with a good display against Kashima.

Diogo fired four shots for Johor at the Kashima Soccer Stadium of which three landed on target. He scored  with his final shot of the match to net a consolation for JDT in the 80th minute — the first-ever goal scored by a Malaysian club in the AFC Champions League proper!

(Facts via Opta)