Talajic expects Kuwait to battle on
Boss Dragan Talajic is confident his depleted Kuwait SC side can overcome various setbacks and take control of their AFC Cup semi-final tie against Arbil tomorrow night. Defenders Khaled Al Shammari and Ahmad Sobeah are suspended for the first-leg contest while Talajic will be forced to watch from the stands after being sent off in last week's goalless draw against Muang Thong United.
The visitors are also struggling with injuries for the game at Francouse Al Hareeri stadium. "We are here to play against a very good team that have a lot of good players. My team are suffering from the absence of five of my main players; two of them are suspended while three others are injured. But with great respect to Arbil, we are here to win the match," said Talajic.
"I always try to encourage my players to be at their best despite the difficulties we face. For example, I if cry and say we have problems because five main players will be absent and eight other players have yellow cards, my players' psychologically will suffer. If the coach is a lion, the players will appear as lions also but if the coach is a mouse, the players will appear as a mouse. I don't have to be worried about the players who will be absent for the match since I have other lions to replace them."
Arbil coach Ayoub Odisho underlined the Iraqi side need to make the most of their opportunities, although star striker Amjed Radhi misses out with suspension. "For the previous matches we have faced a problem which really affected me and the team, my players missed many easy chances," he said. "We have worked on this issue in training and I hope we will show our improvements practically on the field tomorrow.
"I have told my players, especially the strikers, to focus a lot since the lack of concentration makes them miss easy chances. My players don't need to know who is absent and who is present in the defending line of the Kuwait club, what they should think about is how to score and win the match."
Nasaf will feature in their first ever AFC Cup semi-final when they welcome Al Wehdat to Karshi Central Stadium but boss Anatoliy Demianenko insists nerves will not be an issue for his side. "Our team is ready for the semi-final mentally although it will be the first continental club competition semi-final for all of them," he said.
Al Wehdat boss Mohamad Kwid faced Nasaf in the last 16 of last year's competition when he was boss of Al Karamah and masterminded a 1-0 triumph. However, he believes the Uzbeks are a much tougher proposition this time around. "We will try our best tomorrow. There are no weak opponents in semi-final stage," he said. "I have enough information about Nasaf. I saw Nasaf's AFC Cup match against Al Karamah last year and the Uzbekistan team lost that match only because of bad luck. Nasaf have become a much better team compared to last season. Anyway we will fight for a win."