Valero remains cautious for AFC Cup
Al Ittihad coach Tita Valero will not take any risks as his side look to follow up their emphatic opening win of the 2010 AFC Cup when they tackle Kuwaitis Al Qadsia at Aleppo Stadium today.
The Syrians beat Indians East Bengal 4-1 last month and a win against Al Qadsia would strengthen their position at the top of Group D.
"We will go into the game with a cautious approach, especially as Al Qadsia have good players including two Syrian players who have a big influence on the team," said Valero. "My main concern is the defensive mistakes and we will try to avoid repeating those mistakes in the game."
East Bengal have been dealt a blow for their match against Lebanese champions Al Nejmeh with India skipper Baichung Bhutia out because of a hamstring injury. "We will miss Baichung but we have players who can cover for him," said coach Philippe de Ridder. "All the players are good and the replacement for him should have a good performance and take advantage of this chance to play."
In Group C, Al Ahed coach Mahmoud Hamoud is hopeful his side can bounce back from defeat in their opening group game when they travel to Kuwait to tackle Kazma. The Lebanese side currently top their domestic league and Hamoud is hopeful his players can reproduce that form on the continental stage after they were beaten 4-0 by Uzbeks Nasaf last month.
"We are in a good position now in the local league and this will help us to concentrate on the game against Kazma," he said. "The players are now in a good mood and hopefully this will help us in this game."
Nasaf host Al Jaish of Syria in the group's other game with coach Victor Kumykov hoping tiredness does not set in with his players having been in domestic action three days ago. "We have had only three days' rest after our league match against Shurtan," said Kumykov. "It is not enough for us but I hope we will do our best."
In Group G, VB have revenge on their mind when they host South China of Hong Kong at National Stadium in Male. The Maldives side lost both home and away to South China in last year's tournament but coach Can Vanli believes things will be different this year. "Of course we can win the game," said the Turkish coach. "We will take revenge against South China."
Da Nang coach Le Huynh Duc is looking for a positive response from his players in their Group H match with Geylang United following the Vietnamese side's recent defeat in their domestic league. The V-League champions lost to Hanoi T&T but Huynh Duc believes his side can bounce back and claim a second win in the tournament following their 3-2 win over Thai Port in their opening group game. "Da Nang have done really well up to now and many people know that we can play good, offensive football with an efficient squad," he said.
Finally, in Group H Hong Kong side Tai Po host Thailand's Thai Port with coach Andy Chueng targeting their first three points in the tournament. "We hope that we can win at home after we got one point from the first game away with a 1-1 draw, but we know Thai Port are not an easy opponent," he said.