Acknowledging the incredible talent of the Spaniard, Benjamin Mora knows that Vissel Kobe are more dangerous than just the one individual.
There’s very little doubt that the star attraction from the opening Group G match of the 2020 AFC Champions League between Vissel and Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) will be on Andres Iniesta.
A magician on the ball, every football fan in Asia would have seen his exploits with Barcelona and also the Spanish national team, and knows what he is capable to do on his day.
A player who have almost won every major footballing trophy there is to win except for this very competition that he will be playing in, like his club for the very first time in their respective history.
Standing in their path is the Malaysian champions who are in the group stage of the biggest club competition in Asia for the second successive season, a club who are beginning to make their mark on this stage.
When asked in the pre-match press conference what he would do to snuff out the threat of the 35-year-old, JDT’s head coach Benjamin Mora called for the a unified response from his team.
“We can’t (how to stop Iniesta). It’s practically impossible. My respect for Andres Iniesta is too great, he has been unstoppable for a very long time. But I think he’s a player who is the final path of his career.
“We have to work as a team. If we work intelligently and in a compact block, we can get close to stop Iniesta. But with all due respect, we are thinking about the team and not only Iniesta in particular,” said Mora.
But even in their debut season in 2019, they showed that the gap between them and the supposed elite of Asia isn’t that big. They gave their ‘better opponents’ a run for their money in each of those six matches.
In the likes of Diogo Luis Santo, Gonzalo Cabrera and Safawi Rasid; Mora and JDT have their own star quality that can hurt Vissel at the Noevir Stadium Kobe on Wednesday.
“We are very happy to be in this prestigious competition to face a very good team like Vissel Kobe. We know what the J-League represent in the continent and how Japanese football is seen around the world.
“We look up to you guys in a very nice way. Also we know this is Kobe’s first appearance in the ACL, our second but we are both practically new in the competition.
“Football is about consistency and performance regularity in the way we try to play. We don’t rely on one or two players, we rely on the team work and the performance of the collective in every phase of the game.
“We did a great pre-season with many games to practice and polish al the situations we need to. Hopefully tomorrow we wake up in a good way and perform as a team, as long as we do that, I’m sure we will be in a good way,” added Mora.
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