Global FC take on Myanmar Champions Magwe FC in their opening Group F match of the 2017 AFC Cup in Manila on Tuesday.
The Pinoy champions, who became the first side from the country to qualify for AFC Cup in 2015, aimed to go a step further when they won the ticket to participate in the AFC Champions League. Despite winning their first qualifying game (preliminary round one) against Singapore's Tampines Rovers 2-0, they failed to make the group stage of first-tier continental tournament after being crushed by A.League giants Brisbane Roar 6-0.
They have now joined Magwe, former champions Johor Darul Ta'zim and Cambodian champions Boeung Ket Angkor in what will be a tightly-contested group. As the new format of the AFC Cup allows only the group toppers an assured passage to the next round, the People's Club needs to make use of every single opportunity and a win in the opening clash today will boost their confidence.
Global have not started their league season yet but will be raring to go after the experience of playing at the highest level in Asia. Skippered by Misagh Bahadoran, Global have Philippines stars Paul Mulders, Hikaru Minegishi, Amani Aguinaldo and Dennis Villanueva.
Bahadoran has already opened the season on a high scoring against Tampines in their win last month and is reportedly confident of his team's chances against Magwe, who are making their AFC Cup debut. While maintaining that ACL experience has helped them, the Filipino international warns his men against underestimating their opposition, who have not begun their new season on a good note.
The defending champions suffered a 5-0 thrashing against Yangon United in their season-opener and have won only one of their five games, slipping to 10th in the 12-team rankings.
Possible XI: Deyto; Kaole, Aguinaldo, Mulders, Barbaso; Sasaki, Villanueva, Hartmann, Minegishi; Azzawi; Bahadoran
Possible XI: Phyo Aung; Oulai, Lin Tun, Kyaw, Min Tun; Phyo wai, Zaw Hein, Maung Soe, Zin Win; Sylla, Htoo Aung