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AFC Cup Preview: East Bengal prepare to take on Malaysian champion Johor Darul

East Bengal will play their opening match in AFC Cup 2015 against Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim in Malaysia.

East Bengal vs Johor Darul
East Bengal prepare to take on Malaysian side Johor Darul 

East Bengal will play their opening match in AFC Cup 2015 against Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim in Malaysia. East Bengal have represented India the most number of times in AFC competitions. The last time they played the tournament, they had qualified for the semi-finals and now they prepare to go up against Johor Darul Ta’zim, the reigning champions of Malaysia.

Few weeks back, they had defeated another Indian club, ie. Bengaluru FC in the AFC Champions League qualifiers. It will be an uphill task for the Indian giants to put up a good show against the home side and collect three points from this encounter.

Venue

Tan Sri Dato Hj Hassan Yunos Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Larkin, Johor Bahru, Malaysia. It is currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium holds 30,000 people and opened in 1964. It was named after former Menteri Besar of Johor, Tan Sri Dato HJ Hassan Yunos.

Kick-off

February 24, 2015: 6:15 pm – India (IST)

Possible Starting line ups

East Bengal (4-3-1-2): Subhashish; Deepak Mondal, Milan Susak, Gurwinder Singh, Robert Lalthuama; Mama, Cavin Lobo, Lalrindika Ralte, Mohammad Rafique; Ranti Martins, Dudu Omagbemi

A possible change in formation is almost certain under the new coach Eelco Schattorie, who prefers to field his team in a 4-3-1-2 formation. Club captain Gurwinder Singh is expected to start in the first XI alongside Milan Susak in the central defense. Arnab Mondal will be unavailable for selection as he will be serving a ban due to a red card he had received in the AFC Cup semi-final match two years ago against Kuwait FC. Eelco will field Mohammad Rafique in the number 10 position behind Nigerian striking duo of Ranti Martins and Dudu Omagbemi.

Johor Darul Ta’zim (4-5-1): F Marlias, M. Jasuli, F Shas, Marcos Antonio, S. Rahim, N. Nawi, S. Shaari, P. Maderner, S. Kunanlan, H. Harun, J. Pereyra Diaz.


Key Battles

J Pereyra Diaz vs Milan Susak

This Argentine striker of Johor Darul is the most dangerous player in the squad. He has the ability to score against any defender and has proved to be a lethal player in the team’s rank. East Bengal’ Australian defender Milan Susak will be in charge to mark the Argentine forward.

Ranti Martins
All eyes will be on Ranti as he will be the target man upfront for East Bengal

Ranti Martins vs Marcos Antonio

The Nigerian goal machine is the most successful player for East Bengal in this season so far. Ranti Martins is scoring in almost every game barring a few. So far he has scored 5 goals from 6 I-League matches. All eyes will be on Ranti as he will be the target man upfront for East Bengal in this crucial AFC Cup tie. Johor’s Brazilian defender Marcos Antonio will have to keep the Nigerian attacker under strict surveillance.


Prediction

Johor Darul Ta’zim 1-0 East Bengal

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