AFC Cup group round
A do or die match for Abahani
Dhaka Abahani, the traditional sky blue outfits, will take on Chennaiyin Football Club, a former champion of Indian Super League, in a vital match of AFC Cup group stage today (Wednesday) at 7:00pm at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.
Literally, the Group-E match on the day is a final match of the qualifying stage for the Bangladeshi club.
In their last match, Abahani lost it to the same rivals by 1-0 margin following a own goal of its Brazilian defender Wellington on April 30 at the Arena Stadium in Ahmedabad, India. The defeat set the sky blues in the second place on the group point table with four points. Chennaiyin FC is leading the point table with seven points.
Abahani's Portuguese coach Mario Lemos knew very well that the Wednesday-match would be the 'do or die' match for them. In a pre-match briefing on Tuesday he said, "If we lose tomorrow (Wednesday), we are certainly in trouble. So we gotta win the match. We don't want to squander any opportunities to score there."
He said, "We played well but lost match in India. But we are now confident to do well. Set peace will be important for us in the match and we put importance on it. We have some good players like Zibon and Waly Faisal for that condition. Our plan is to concede no goal."
Abahani's key player Nahid Newaz said, "We have injury problems. We have practiced hard and want to do well. Coach worked with us about scoring. We have squandered a lot of opportunities in the last matches and we also worked on it."
He said, "We are playing the AFC Cup for last few times. We have a good chance before us to do well in the event. It is a home match and like a final match for us. We want to do well in it. We practiced at the match venue last day and if we can repeat the practice performance there we believe we can win it."
Chennaiyin's English head coach John Charles Gregory said, "Tomorrow match is the most important match of the group and we don't want to lose it. Abahani is a good and balanced team. It got some dangerous players. We know the team's position in the group and we are not going to underestimate any opponents."
"Belfort and couple of others are known figures to us as they played in India before. But the rest are unknown," said the Chennaiyin coach.