Tampines have a score to settle
|TAMPINES ROVERS||GLOBAL FC|
The last time they visited Manila, the Singapore national team footballers had a Suzuki Cup campaign to forget as they were eliminated without a win last November.
Lions defender Madhu Mohana is determined to make amends when Tampines Rovers visit Global FC for the AFC Champions League preliminary qualifier tonight.
"We definitely want to set the record straight and come back with the win," said the 25-year-old centre back, one of eight Stags in that Singapore squad.
Both Global and Tampines have seen massive changes since they met last year.
Toshiaki Imai, former coach of the Mongolia and Taiwan national teams, took charge of United Football League champions Global only earlier this month.
They also have a new set of imports in Brazilian centre back Rafael Dumas, Japanese frontman Shu Sasaki and Australian midfielder Yianni Perkatis.
S.League runners-up Tampines, on the other hand, lost former Arsenal winger Jermaine Pennant, livewire Jordan Webb as well as frontman Billy Mehmet.
Singapore internationals Hafiz Abu Sujad and Izzdin Shafiq have also left the club.
Mehmet and Hafiz contributed four of the five goals Tampines scored against Global across two legs of the RHB Singapore Cup quarter-final last year in their 5-2 win.
But Madhu is confident that new additions such as centre back partner Daniel Bennett, striker Khairul Amri as well as the new foreign trio - Croatian forward Ivan Dzoni, Japanese winger Ryutaro Megumi and South Korean midfielder Son Yong Chan - will step up.
"The good thing is we played the Philippines recently and many of them play for Global, so we are familiar with their strengths and weaknesses," said Madhu.
Amri added: "We prepared well, but it is early in the season so we could need more time to gel. The Tampines old boys played against Global just last year, so we know we are in for a good physical test and we will be ready."
Tonight's match is the first of a three-stage qualifier to reach the AFC Champions League main draw.
The winners will go on to face A-League's Brisbane Roar next Tuesday before the Chinese Super League's Shanghai Greenland Shenhua provide the final hurdle to the tournament proper.
Defeat at any stage of the qualifiers will see Tampines play in the AFC Cup, in which they have been drawn into Group G alongside Vietnam's Ha Noi, Malaysia's Felda United and Philippines' Ceres.