East Bengal, South China futures at stake

East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan hopes his side can rise to the occasion when they take on South China at Hong Kong Stadium with their Group H future in the AFC Cup at stake. Both sides have just one point from their opening two games and a loss for either tomorrow would surely end any dreams of reaching the last 16.

South China boast former internationals and English Premier League stars Nicky Butt and Mateja Kezman among their ranks, but Morgan is keen for his players not to be overawed by their big-spending opponents.

"I hope not," Morgan said. "They know the two players that play for South China are both vastly experienced players, international players, quality players that have played in the English Premier League.

"We haven't really said too much about them but, as professional players, you have got to be tested. It's a good test for our players to see if they can compete at that level. It's a great opportunity for our players. The surface is great and we like to play football.

"Against Jayapura, the best team won - there's no doubt about that. Their players were far better than ours and we have to accept that. It's a good test again for our players to see if they can make the step up from Indian football to the AFC Cup."

It's a good test again for our players to see if they can make the step up from Indian football to the AFC Cup.
Tracy Morgan, East Bengal coach

South China may be in an equally precarious position, but coach Chan Ho Yin is confident they will still make the knockout stage.

"Tomorrow's game, we have one goal and that is to win the match," he said. "We've only played two games and you can see every team has lost points already and will continue to lose points. I'm confident that we can win our remaining four games, as are all the players and the coaches."

Home crowd advantage
The other game will see Persipura Jayapura use their home ground for the first time in Asian competition when they host Chonburi at Mandala Stadium.

"We had been waiting for this time to come," said coach Jacksen Tiago. "Finally we can play in our own stadium in front of our own fans. This match is going to be special. Everybody expects us to give spectacular performance. I can't promise you that, but we will try our best. The atmosphere is going to be great so we'll take it to our own advantage."

Sriwijaya will look to retain top spot in Group F when they host Song Lam Nghe An from Vietnam.

"Every team has the same chance to win the game. Our strengths are not too different one from another," said coach Ivan Kolev. "We don't look down on Song Lam. It's going to be a tough match. They're front-runners in the V-League and it tells you that they're a great team."

Meanwhile, VB welcome TSW Pegasus to the National Stadium in Male with the hosts keen to add to their solitary point so far. In Group B, Shurtan hosts Syria's Al Ittihad with both sides keen to make up ground on leaders Al Qadsia.

The top two teams in Group D clash in Kuwait City when Kuwait SC meet Al Wehdat with both boasting a record of two wins from two games so far. Al Talaba take on Al Suwaiq in the other game.