Johor Bahru: It will be an acid test for East Bengal's newly appointed coach Eelco Schattorie when they face Johor Darul Ta'Zim to kick off their campaign in the AFC Cup football tournament at the Tan Sri Dato Hj Hassan Yunos Stadium here on Tuesday.
Having shown the door to acclaimed Indian coach Armando Colaco, the struggling East Bengal brought in the former United SC coach in the middle of the season. The group F match will be Schattorie's first in red and gold brigade.
It would be interesting to see if the Dutchman can successfully bring out the best in the East Bengal side, who has been a shadow of its past this season, having crashed out of the Federation Cup while struggling to put up a win in the I-League where it occupies fifth place after six matches in the 11-team table.
Schattorie has already made it clear that defence has been a problem, while the midfield is yet to get its flair.
"We've to work on our defence, but I'm ready for the tough challenge. The target is to do well in the AFC Cup," Schattorie said while acknowledging that they have a tough opponent in the Malaysian Super League champions.
Five Malaysian national players -- Safiq Rahim, Farizal Marlias, Junior Eldstal, Fadhli Shas and Safee Sali -- will form the key of the team, coached by Croatian Bojan Hodak.
Schattorie may also pull out a surprise or two as Luis Barreto is expected to start between the sticks, the Dutchman may also name midfielder Mohammed Rafique in the first XI.
The 18-member squad is without forward Baljit Sahni, who is injured, while defender Raju Gaikwad could not make the squad because of Visa related issues.
Match will kick off at 6.15 IST.