Singapore's Tampines Rovers and Malaysia's Felda United meet in the Group G opener of the 2017 AFC Cup at the Jalan Besar Stadium in the Lions City on Tuesday.
The four-time quarter-finalists will look to open their campaign on a high after missing out on the AFC Champions League (ACL) spot following their 2-0 loss to Global FC in the qualifying play-offs last month. The Stags, who are set to start their S.League season against champions Albirex Niigata on Saturday have the edge over Felda, who have had a horrid time in the ongoing new season.
Felda have not been able to find a win in their last five outings in all competitions, which includes four defeats. After the last-season's Super League runners-up were dumped out of FA Cup by Johor Darul Ta'zim, they were thrashed 3-1 by Selangor on the road. The loss saw them drop down to the 11th spot on the league table with just four points from their five games.
Caretaker head coach Mohd Nik, who has taken over after Azmi Mohamed quit the club at the start of the season, also is not happy with quite a few members of his club, including their Argentinian striker Gastón Cellerino and Fakrul Aiman Sidid.Felda have to considerably raise their standards and inject positivity into their camp if they are to stand a chance against the Stags, who are all set for the new campaign with a revamped squad.
Jurgen Raab's men, despite losing high-profile signings Jermaine Pennant, Jordan Webb and Billy Mehmet have quite a few big names to lead the line in Khairul Amri, Sahil Suhaimi and Croatian import Ivan Dzoni. They also will rely on nation defenders Madhu Mohana and Daniel Bennett, who showed good chemistry in their disastrous AFF Suzuki Cup campaign.
Singapore: Fox Sports 3
Thailand: Fox Sports 3
Malaysia: Fox Sports 3
Indonesia: Fox Sports 3
Vietnam: Fox sports 3
Philippines: Fox Sports 3
Possible XI: Mahbud; Shah, Mohana, Bennett, Mustafic; Megumi, Yong Chan, Hamsaz, Dzoni; Amri, Suhaimi
Possible XI: Farizal; Shukor, Jounaidi, Norfazly, Zaidi; Aizulridzwan, Krangar, Hadin, Cano; Idlan, Fahrul Aiman