Tampine Rovers face Felda United in the 2017 AFC Cup group stage fixture at Tun Abdul Razak Stadium on Wednesday and the former's coach Juergen Raab says the Stags will make the best use of their trip to Malaysia.
The S.League giants have struggled in the Asian competititon so far, losing three matches on the trot after their win in the tournament opener against Felda in February. They were beaten 5-0 and 4-0 by Ceres Negros FC and Hanoi FC respectively in their away games, while they also suffered a 2-1 defeat to the latter in their home tie earlier this month.
"We must win if we want to go to the next stage. Normally, playing away is not so easy but I hope the team will use the last chance for this," Raab told International Business Times, Singapore.
"It was very sad that we did not win against Hanoi last Tuesday because it was a really good performance. For now, we will try to do it against Felda, but we know it will be very hard work for us."
Tampines are sitting at the bottom of Group G with three points after four matches and trail leaders Hanoi by five points. The Singapore based outfit need nothing less than a win in their last two group games to stand a chance of making it past the group stages. They host Ceres at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 3 May after their clash against Felda.
Having conceded 12 goals and found the back of the net only thrice so far in the competition, Tampines also need to win big as only the winners of the three Asean groups and the best-placed runner-up qualify for the zonal semi-final.
Their problems at the back have been compounded as centre-back Madhu Mohana will miss the trip to Felda with a hamstring injury. The skipper, in fact, will not be available for at least the next three weeks, Raab revealed on Saturday.
On the other hand, Khairul Amri's return will boost the frontline as the Lions' striker scored the winning goal against the Malaysian club. Raab is also relieved that his players have had enough time to prepare for the crucial fixture against B. Sathianathan's side as their last AFC Cup defeat to Hanoi came only two days after their league loss to Warriors FC.
"For me, if now we can bring the performance from our last two matches against Hanoi and Geylang, if we can confirm that we bring this mentality and motivation to the matches than we are on the right way, then we can show our quality from this style of football," Tampines manager said.