Felda United host Philippines' Ceres Negros in a crucial Group G match of 2017 AFC Cup at the Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor, Malaysia on Tuesday.
The hosts are heading into the game after a 20-day break, before which they had earned a crucial draw against Ceres on the road. On the other hand, the Filipino side, despite not starting the local league yet, have been able to produce positive results and their 5-0 thrashing of Singapore's Tampines Rovers last month would be a big motivation.
A lot has changed for Felda since they faced a 2-1 defeat to Tampines in February. The team, which was struggling to come in terms with the abrupt quitting of coach Azmi Mohamed, have produced positive results since Sathianathan took over. Under the 58-year-old tactician, the Malaysian Super League side have been unbeaten in their last five outings, with four draws and a win and have risen to the seventh spot on the league table.
Felda will now hope to reverse their fortunes at the continental level. Despite suffering a defeat in their tournament opener, they were impressive against top-ranked sides Ceres and Hanoi FC, playing out draws between both teams.
The focus will also be on Argentine striker Gaston Cellerino, who failed to impress the former coach, as he will be replacing Lucas Cano, who is out due to suspension. Notably, the latter came close to scoring the winner against Ceres last month and coach Sathianathan will expect better things from the former this time.
Ceres though would want to seal the opportunity this time and top the group table as they are currently sharing the top spot with Hanoi on better goal difference. Despite missing their key playmaker Manuel Ott, the Philippines' side have enough firepower to earn a favourable result on the road.
China: Star Sports 2
Hong Kong: Fox Sports
Malaysia: Fox Sports
Philippines: Fox Sports
Vietnam: Fox Sports
Possible XI: Farizal; Afiq, Jounaidi, Norfazly, Aizul Ridzwan; Syahid, James, Fazrul Hazli, Krangar, Idlan; Callerino
Possible XI: Muller; Christiaens, Super, De Murga, Steuble; Ingreso, Ramsay, Bienve, Pasinabo, Porteria; Rodriguez