Midfielder Hariss Harun is excited of the AFC Champions League qualifying round two against Muangthong United, telling FourFourTwo the match is an acid test of Johor Darul Takzim’s (JDT) credentials.
The Southern Tigers have arrived at the same stage before, with the memory of a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Bangkok Glass last season the stuff of nightmares till this stage.
The Malaysian champions now have another crack of reaching the final qualifying round come Tuesday, only this time a much stronger opponent in the form of Muangthong United – Thai Premier League (TPL) runners-up – awaits.
However, Singaporean skipper Hariss is personally relishing being part of this ‘Malaysia-Thailand’ battle and feels he has never had a bigger game in his club career.
“Thai teams are very strong. And Muangthong are no ordinary team – we know they are the best in the region. They are of a different class than Bangkok Glass and hence our preparations have been at a high level since we got back from the (end-season) break,” he told FourFourTwo.
“It’s a mammoth task ahead but matches like these are exactly what we need to take us to a higher level. It is opportunity to show our progress and prove that we can match the best teams in the region.”
JDT had two friendlies in Thailand in preparation for the visit to the SCG Stadium. JDT suffered a 2-0 loss against Chonburi but bounced back to defeat Big Bang Chula United 4-2. Chonburi finished fourth in the Thai Premier League last year while Big Bang Chula finished third in the second tier.
“We learnt a lot about Thai teams during our tour. We were a bit rusty after the break but those games set us up nicely for the Muangthong clash,” concluded Hariss.