Al Riffa seek continental final berth
Al Riffa boss Jose Garrido has insisted his side are prepared for whatever Al Qadsia can throw at them as they look to defend a 2-0 first-leg lead and reach the final of the AFC Cup.
Goals from Rico and Abdulrahman Mubarak ensured the Bahrain side will travel to Mohammed Al Hamad Stadium in Kuwait City for Wednesday's semi-final second leg with a healthy advantage and Garrido is keen for his players to put in a professional performance to win the tie. "They know how important the game on Tuesday is and hopefully we can get a positive result and advance to the final," said the Portuguese coach.
"We have put in place plans for the different scenarios that we could face in the game as Al Qadsia can fight back right from the start and we must use the necessary tactics to maintain our advantage. The two teams already know each other and we should forget the first-leg result."
Al Qadsia will be without suspended midfielder Saleh Al Sheikh after his dismissal in Manama but boss Mohammed Ibrahim is optimistic his men can overturn the two-goal deficit. "Our task is hard but it's not impossible and our players always show their best form in critical situations," he said.
"Al Riffa will be looking to defend deep and try to use the quick counter-attacks and this is logical for them to do. We will bear this in mind when preparing our formation for the game. I hope that our strikers will be in their best form in the game and hopefully they can score the chances that they will have."
In the other semi-final, Al Ittihad will look to overcome a 1-0 deficit when they host Muang Thong United. Siaka Dagno's early goal in the first leg in Bangkok means the Thais hold a narrow lead going into the return clash at Aleppo International Stadium.
Al Ittihad will also be without suspended defenders Jude Vernyuy Kongnyuy and Omar Hemidi, making a difficult task harder according to boss Tita Valeriu. "Hemidi is an international player and he has big experience in such games," said the Romanian.
"However, I hope we can find a good replacement and our fans must support us in big numbers in order to get a good result. We need to score two goals and this is not easy. We will try to make an attacking start to the game and hopefully we can get the necessary result to advance."
Muang Thong boss Rene Desaeyere, meanwhile, is looking for an early goal to kill off the tie. "We are planning to score a quick goal in order to surprise Al Ittihad," said the Belgian, who will be without the suspended Datsakorn Thonglao.
"We are going into the game with a big chance to advance and hopefully we can go through to the final with a good result. Our focus is on the AFC Cup, where we produced some big surprises by beating Al Rayyan and Al Karamah and hopefully we can repeat our good results on Tuesday."