Kelantan vs. JDT postponed due to Gamba Osaka ACL qualifier

Kelantan will be facing an intense domestic schedule after their Malaysia Super League (MSL) match against Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) on Saturday was postponed, due to their opponents' regional Cup commitments.

The Southern Tigers are preparing to face Japan's Gamba Osaka in the final qualifier of the Asian Champions League (ACL) on Feb. 7, and will travel to Osaka on Sunday.

The Red Warriors -- who already had their first MSL home game against Melaka United on Jan. 21 rescheduled due to inclement weather -- have, however, graciously agreed to postpone the fixture to allow their Malaysian counterparts to focus on the big game.

The news was confirmed by Malaysian football organisers Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP).

"The match will be played at another date to be announced. The decision was made after taking into account the travel and preparation time for JDT, who will be competing in a final ACL playoff stage for the first time," said FMLLP chief executive officer Kevin Ramalingam in a statement.

"Big praise also goes to Kelantan for their sportsmanship to agree to the change."

Kelantan have quickly moved to appease their disappointed fans who have bought tickets for the game, by organising a friendly against third-tier side Hanelang FC at the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium on Friday.

JDT currently lie second in the MSL, but domestic commitments will take a back seat for the time being as they prepare for one of the biggest games in their history.

Should they beat the 2008 ACL champions, a place in the group stages beckon.

The reigning MSL champions' win over Bangkok United on Tuesday also moved them as the highest ranked Southeast Asian side on the Asian Football Confederation club rankings to 24, behind Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain remains the highest ranked team in Asia, followed by Al-Hilal and FC Seoul.