JOHOR BAHRU: Even though they are still without a win, Singaporean side Tampines Rovers are optimistic that they can taste their first victory in tomorrow night’s (Wednesday) AFC Cup Asean Zone Group H match against Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) at Larkin Stadium.
Tampines 59-year-old German coach, Jurgen Raab pointed out that the ability of his players in holding JDT to a draw during their previous encounter at the Jalan Besar Stadium on March 6 has inspired them to play for a win when they take on the 2015 AFC Cup champions across the Causeway.
"Even though we failed to register a win in the first round after losing twice and playing to a draw against JDT, we have a good chance to shine in the second round and we will play for the win when we take on the reigning Malaysia Super League champions.
"After the first round of matches, I had a discussion with my players and our goal is to reduce the points gap in Group H.
In fact, our ability to hold JDT to a goalless draw in the previous round has been our best showing in the competition so far.
"We have to admit that JDT are a very good team from when we played them about a week ago, as they fielded a second string side but still managed to trouble our defensive line.
Raab stressed that Tampines will have a different playing style this time round at the Larkin Stadium as they will be more aggressive to secure their first win in the competition even though they do realise that defeating JDT at home will be a very daunting task.
In fact he believes that the Southern Tigers strength lies in the strong support that their opponents enjoy from the fans, but he has reminded his players to remain focused on their job at hand and play according to tactics.
"I hope that goalkeeper Hafiz Farid is in top form and can play as how he did before this when we last met JDT where he kept a clean sheet and frustrated their forwards.
"Our Serbian born defensive midfielder Fahrudin Mustafic, who missed the previous encounter against JDT through injury, is fit again and will be playing this time round which is good news for us as he can break down JDT’s attacking moves from the middle of the park,” said Raab.