The league leaders of Malaysia's Premier division, Johor Darul Ta'zim, will host AFC Champions League veterans Urawa Reds in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie.
The hosts topped Group I without facing too many problems, finishing ahead of Ulsan and Kawasaki. Their last group clash saw them triumph 2-1 over Ulsan. Urawa, meanwhile, finished second to Daegu in group F, finishing with the same number of points. They beat Shandong Luneng 5-0 in their last group game.
Johor Darul Ta'zim vs Urawa Reds Head-to-Head
The two teams will square off for the first time on Friday. Domestic form favours the home team, who are leading their country's top division. Meanwhile, despite Urawa's latest surge in the J1 League, they find themselves seventh in the points table.
Johor Darul Ta'zim form guide (all competitions): W-W-W-W-W
Urawa Reds form guide (all competitions): W-W-L-W-W
Johor Darul Ta'zim vs Urawa Reds Team News
Johor Darul Ta'zim
The hosts have no injury or suspension concerns ahead of this game.
New signing from Feyenoord - Bryan Linssen - will be out of action due to a hamstring niggle. Centre-back Tomoya Inukai will also miss out owing to a knee problem.
Injured: Bryan Linssen, Tomoya Inukai.
Johor Darul Ta'zim vs Urawa Reds Predicted XIs
Johor Darul Ta'zim (4-3-3): Marlias Farizal, Shane Lowry, Adam Nor Azlin, Dan Ting, Matt Davies, Feroz Baharudin, Sahami Safari, Sahrul Saad, Nazmi Faiz, Daniel Amier, Levy Madinda
Urawa Reds (4-2-3-1): Shushaku Nishikawa (GK); Ayumu Ohata, Alexander Scholz, Takuya Iwanami, Kazuaki Mawatari; Atsuki Ito, Ken Iwao; David Moberg Karlsson, Yoshio Koizumi, Takahiro Sekine; Ataru Esaka
Johor Darul Ta'zim vs Urawa Reds Prediction
Both teams will look to get an advantage in the first leg to enjoy some cushion before their outing in Japan. Urawa will be eying at least a draw in the away leg in Malaysia. They have the better team despite their injury setbacks and are the favourites in the tie.
The Malaysian league leaders, meanwhile, will look to replicate their domestic form in the AFC Champions League knockouts. They'll be eyeing an advantage in the first leg to have a decent chance of progressing for the next round.
Nevertheless, a draw is on the cards in the first leg.
Prediction: Johor Darul Ta'zim 2-2 Urawa Reds