Muang Thong, Persipura look to bounce back
© AFP

Muang Thong United midfielder Datsakorn Thonglao is counting on the Thai side's formidable home record to help them overcome a one-goal deficit against Kuwait SC and reach the semi-finals of the AFC Cup.

Muang Thong go into the second leg of the quarter-final match at the Thunderdome Stadium tomorrow night trailing to Rogerio's 76th-minute goal in Kuwait two weeks ago. Henrique Calisto's men, though, are yet to concede at home in this season's competition, although Teerasil Dangda may be ruled out with a groin strain.

"Of course this is a huge match," said Datsakorn. "We haven't lost at home this year and we want the crowd to rise up so we can impose our will on Kuwait.

"There is no team in the world that would not get a huge advantage from playing in front of their home fans and I believe crowd support will be massive for us as we have not lost a home game in the AFC Cup this year."

Still, Kuwait SC manager Dragan Talajic is relishing the challenge. "We know we are playing a quality side from the first match against them and also their history, having reached the semi-finals of this competition last year," Talajic said.

"But we will win and we are prepared. This is the final stages of a major competition and I can guarantee you we didn't come here to lose."

Persipura calm despite deficit
Persipura Jayapura need to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Arbil at the Francouse Al Hariri Stadium, but coach Jacksen Tiago stressed that does not mean they will adopt a reckless approach.

This is the final stages of a major competition and I can guarantee you we didn't come here to lose.
Dragan Talajic, Kuwait SC manager

"We have to keep balance in the game," Tiago said. "We have to be very careful since Arbil have very good players like Muslim Mubarak, Luay Salah, and Qusay Minir who very easily transfer the ball and are fast on the counter-attack.

"If we need to attack we will do it, if we need to defend we will do it. The situation of the game will dictate how we should play."

Arbil chief Ayoub Odisho hopes home support will prove the difference for the Iraqi's. "We need to play the best we can since both teams are very close and I am sure the game will be difficult for us," Odisho said.

"This time we play in front of our fans in our homeland, that might have a positive impact on the players' performances. But I have to say that if the fans don't treat the situation in a good way and put pressure on us, we might get affected negatively."

Chonburi admitted underdogs
In tomorrow's other match, Nasaf host Chonburi at Karshi Central Stadium holding a 1-0 advantage over their Thailand opponents, although the Uzbeks will be without the suspended Erkin Baydullaev.

"We are preparing for the match very seriously," said manager Anatoly Demianenko. "Chonburi are a well-balanced team and therefore we should not be complacent. The game will not be easy."

Chonburi defender Suttinun Phukhom will also miss out after being sent-off in the first game and coach Withaya Laohakul admitted they were underdogs for the clash. "After we lost the first quarter-final match, our chances to qualify for the semi-final are reduced," Phukhom said.

"We discovered the real power of Nasaf only during the course of the match. We have studied enough about Nasaf's weak points and my team will play an offensive game tomorrow."