AFC Cup action resumes
TSW Pegasus coach Chan Hiu Ming believes the victory over Song Nam Long An proves the AFC Cup debutants have the necessary weapons to come through Group F and reach the last 16 ahead of tomorrow's clash with Sriwijaya.
The Hong Kong side unexpectedly came from a goal down to see of the Vietnamese in their inaugural game in the competition two weeks ago and Chan feels that has given them the confidence to down another powerhouse in the shape of the Indonesians.
"We've had a good start because we won the first away game and after we came back from Vietnam, we also beat the top team in the Hong Kong League, Kitchee, so now we have very good spirit and our physical condition is good, so we are confident," he said. "I think this is a good start for us and that is why our target is now to qualify for the next round. This is our basic target as this is our first year in the competition."
Sriwijaya have previous AFC Champions League experience but have fallen on hard times recently and are struggling domestically and were held 1-1 by Maldives side VB a fortnight ago. As such, backroom member Indrayadi confirmed a draw would suit the Indonesians.
"We have prepared for this match for a long time and we hope for a good result," he said. "We want to steal one point from Pegasus but we also hope to win the match. Our form is not very good because many, many players are injured."
Big match in Maldives
VB will welcome back Ali Afsahq when they face SNLA at the National Stadium in Male after the prolific striker missed the draw in Indonesia due to a misunderstanding between club and player. "Ashfaq is part of our squad but Ashfaq is not in completely in our complete system and if things happen like this we will have to find another solution," said boss Can Vanli.
"I can say that if we are with Ashfaq we are very dangerous and if we are without him we are still have a brilliant team. I hope he will be with us tomorrow and he will play and he will fight for VB. He promised to me that he will play and fight to win the game."
SLNA head coach Nguyen Huu Thang stressed his side were keen to bounce from their loss to TSW Pegasus. "I know we lost our first game against Pegasus in Vietnam but we leave that to one side and now we are thinking about VB," he said.
Group E sees Al Arouba face Al Ahed at Al Seeb Sports Stadium in Muscat with boss Omar Meziane brimming with confidence after fighting back from two goals down to hold Al Karamah in Syria last time out. "The team is ready in every respect for this match," he said. "The draw with Al Karamah in Syria and the restoration of the team to the top of the Oman Mobile League after they won their last match with Al Suwaiq will give us a new impetus."
Al Ahed boss Mahmoud Hamoud, meanwhile, is eager to consign an opening 2-1 defeat to Arbil to the past. "We have come here in order to win the match and grab three points," he said. "I know Al Arouba well through studying them and watching several previous matches including their last match with Al Karamah."
Arbil host Al Karamah in the other game with the Iraqis looking to make it two wins out of two having been absent from last year's edition after the country's football association was suspended. In Group B, Shurtan entertain Yemen side Al Saqr with the Uzbeks also attempting to maintain their 100 per cent record while Al Qadsia travel to Al Ittihad in a repeat of last year's final which the latter won on a penalty shoot-out.
Finally in Group A, Al Tilal take on Nasaf in Aden while Dempo travel to Lebanon to play Al Ansar.