Johor Darul Ta'zim's new signings (from left) Jorge Diaz from Argentina and Brazilian Marcos Santos at their unveiling in Larkin on Sunday. - BERNAMA
PETALING JAYA: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) will be sweating on new signing Argentinian striker Jorge Diaz’s availability when they face Pahang in the first leg of the FA Cup semi-final at the Larkin Stadium on Monday night.
The 23-year-old Diaz, who was signed in the second transfer window last month, has yet to receive his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and might miss his debut with cash-rich JDT.
JDT manager Bojan Hodak is keeping his fingers crossed that the former Lanus player will get the clearance from the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to play.
“I’m not sure if Diaz will be available for the match ... I hope his ITC will be sorted out before the match because he can be a big boost to the team up front,” said Hodak on Sunday.
The Croatian added that Brazilian defender Marcos Santos, the other new signing, would be tasked to shackle Pahang striker Dickson Nwakaeme in his M-League debut.
“Pahang practically have the same squad for several years now ... they have a strong side with several dangerous players like Mohd Azamuddin (Akil), R. Gopinathan, R. Surendran and Matias Conti with them. But the one player who worries me the most is Dickson.
“He’s a powerful striker who can create chances on his own. But now we have Santos to strengthen our defence and I hope he will have a good game.”
Hodak, however, will be without suspended defensive midfielder Shakir Saari while attacking midfielder Safiq Rahim will miss the match due to an ankle injury. Centreback S. Subramaniam is a doubt as he has yet to recover from flu.
“This tie won’t be decided in Larkin. For me, it’s just the first half of the match. A win without conceding any goals is good enough for me. We will be without several players, so getting a win is trickier for us,” said the 43-year-old coach.