Analysis

JDT's possible AFC Cup quarter-final opponents: Who are they?

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Club: Tampines Rovers

Summary: Despite this being their eighth AFC Cup appearance, the Stags have only reached the quarter-finals three times and never successfully advanced past that stage.

They have bolstered the squad with former Liverpool star Jermaine Pennant as well as a host of Singapore internationals to help achieve that target.

A huge question mark remains over the squad’s ability to compete with the rest of Asia, with Tampines barely managing to qualify for the last 16.

The Stags had enjoyed a three-game unbeaten run in the competition, before they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Ceres in Philippines.

Pennant was signed to help Tampines challenge on all fronts. Photo: FFT

This was followed by a 3-2 loss to Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi, arguably one of the worst sides in the AFC Cup this year.

Fortunately for Tampines, they recovered to beat Selangor 1-0 and pipped the Malaysian team to second place.

In the round of 16, Tampines had to dig deep and earn a last-gasp 2-1 win over Mohun Bagan in extra time.

All three possible contenders will be relatively new to Tampines, as they have never faced off before in the AFC Cup.

The Stags are well-stocked with Singapore internationals. Photo: FFT

Strength: With an array of talents at the club’s disposal, Tampines should not be worrying about a lack of squad depth. Whether the players can step up to the plate and represent the S.League with pride, however, is another matter altogether.

Weakness: Tampines have struggled for goals this season and their strikers badly need to hit top form.

Difficulty rating: Not the toughest opponents to beat but they could still threaten, especially if Pennant decides to put on another masterclass, as he did against Mohun Bagan.