Bangkok Glass defender Matt Smith expects difficult Johor battle

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Matt Smith

will be looking to set up a deciding AFC Champions League qualifier against China’s Beijing Guoan when they face Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta’zim in the second round of qualifying on Tuesday night in Bangkok.

Johor, or as they’re commonly known, set up the clash after overcoming Indian side Bengaluru 2-1 in extra time in last week’s first round ACL qualifier in Malaysia.

Bangkok Glass defender , who recently joined the Thai side from A-League champions Brisbane Roar, said his side is expecting a difficult match.

“JDT will be a difficult game, they won the domestic league last season and have a good mix of local and foreign players,” he told Football Channel .

“I didn’t watch their game (against Bengaluru) live but have watched the highlights and they are a good team.

“We are very respectful of them and know we are going to have to be prepared and play very well to give ourselves the best opportunity to go through.”

One factor in Bangkok’s favour will be home ground advantage, something Smith feels will be vital.

“Home advantage always helps in Asia due to the fact you don’t have to travel and you can play at your ground in front of your fans,” the 32-year-old said.

While JDT has already started their domestic season, winning their opening match against Pahang 2-0 on 31 January, Smith is confident the work his side has done in pre-season will hold them in good stead.

“We have played a lot of football in the pre-season including friendly matches and one competitive game in the Kings Cup,” he told Football Channel Asia.

“The coach has used these games to introduce his style and system and feel the team understands and is ready for this game, and also the start of the Thai Premier League.”

The other Round 2 qualifiers to take place tomorrow will see Singapore’s Warriors FC, who overcame Myanmar’s Yadanarbon in a penalty shootout last week, travel to China to take on Guangzhou R&F.

Rounding out playoff action from East Asia will be Chonburi () vs Kitchee (Hong Kong) and Hanoi T&T (Vietnam) vs Persib Bandung (Indonesia).

In the West Asian playoffs, reigning AFC Cup Champions Al-Qadsia host Jordan’s Al-Wehdat, meanwhile Qatar’s two playoff teams, El Jaish and 2011 ACL champions Al-Sadd, will host Oman’s Al-Nahda and Bahrain’s Riffa respectively.

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