With captain Luciano Sobrosa ruled out due to suspension and Edeh Chidi not available due to injury,Salgaocar face an uphill task when they take on Al Wehdat of Jordan in their return group D match of the AFC Cup at Nehru Stadium,Fatorda here on Tuesday.
Al Wehdat,who recorded back-to-back wins after losing to Neftchi of Uzbekistan in their opening encounter,are placed second in the group with six points,one point behind leader Neftchi.
The twin wins give us our spirit back especially after our bad result against Neftchi. We made tactical changes and it paid off, said Al Wehdat coach Branko Smiljanic who won the AFC cup for the first time for Jordan when he was the coach of Al Failsay team in 2002. Now that we are back in our winning ways,we want to continue to keep the momentum going and win the remaining three matches to find ourselves a place in the knock out stage, he added.
Al Wehdat enjoyed a confidence boosting 5-0 win over Salgaocar without their experience players defender Bsem Fathi and captain Rafat Ali in the first leg match on April 4 in Amman. Now that they are back in the side,Al Wehdat are confident of putting across Salgaocar and keep themselves in the hunt for the knock-out stage.
Salgaocars chances of entering the knock-out stage suffered a jolt after they lost their second match from three outings after snatching a point from leader Neftchi at home. But Salgaocar coach Karim Bencherifa would not want to give up easily and is hoping that his team will perform the same way it did against Neftchi and win despite the absence of their key players. The Moroccan insisted that he was not yet ready to throw in the towel.
We did not play to our potential in the first leg and I do not want to give any excuse. Lot of things went against us and hope to do better in the second leg. Al Wehdat 0-5 loss is a new challenge,their physical structure and fitness has upset our calculation which led to our debacle. If we play as a team,there is a chance to upset our opponent. For this we need crowd support to back us to the hilt, stated Bencherifa.
Bagan eye win in I-League
Kolkata: Mohun Bagan will be desperate to return to winning ways after three draws on the trot when they face Shillong Lajong FC in a round 24 I-League clash at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Tuesday. Bagan are all set to finish another season without a trophy but would be eyeing full points from their remaining three matches for a top five finish. The home side will have a full-strength squad at their disposal with the exception of Rakesh Masih who pulled a muscle on Monday.