Malaysian giants Johor Darul Ta'zim host Philippines' Ceres-Negros in the semi-final first leg of 2017 AFC Cup at the Larkin Stadium on Wednesday.
The hosts had to wait until the last match day of the group stages to secure their berth as the best-placed runners-up in the Asean zone as they finished behind Group F winners Global FC with four wins from six matches.
On the other hand, Ceres won Group G and made the last-four stages by virtue of better goal difference after being tied on points with Hanoi FC.
JDT, who enjoy a good home support, will be high on confidence after the way they came back from behind to deflate Magwe FC in their final group stage match. Gabriel Guerra, the Argentine import, scored a hat-trick to take the team past the line in the crunch encounter at home last month.
The onus will be on Guerra, who tops the scorers-chart with seven goals so far, to deliver once again on the big night. He will be ably supported by skipper Safiq Rahim, who has created the most number of chances for the team in the continental campaign.
Except for their shock loss against Global FC on the road in the group stages, Benjamin Mora's side have been impressive in the competition, scoring the most number of goals (16) with the highest goal difference (8) at the end of group stages.
Also, the hosts will take positives from the fact that 10 of those goals have come at home, where they have conceded only once. However, the backline is likely to be tested on Wednesday as it has the arduous task of containing Bienvenido Maranon, who has hit seven to join Guerra at the top the scorers list.
Possible XI: Haziq; Fazly, Aidil Zafuan, Antonio, Nasrulhaq; Safiq, Afiq, Hazwan, Azamuddin, Faiz; Guerra
Possible XI: Muller; Munoz, Kawase, De Murga, Christiaens,; Ingreso, Ott, Porteria, Bienve, Ramsay; Rodriguez