PJN Stadium, Goa
March 21, 2012 – 5:45 P.M IST
I-League champions Salgaocar Sports Club will welcome back their national team stars as the Goan Greens take on Neftchi of Uzbekistan in their second game of their maiden appearance in the AFC Cup.
Team news and Tactical Brief
Salgaocar Sports Club
Salgaocar who missed as many as three first choice players – Rochus Lamare, Francis Fernandes and Karanjit Singh in their 0-1 loss to Al Arouba, will look forward to playing their first game in the AFC Cup at home with a full strength team. Except for French midfielder Maxime Belouet who suffered a serious injury in the game at Oman, Karim Bencherifa has a full strength team to choose from. All three national team players will be automatic starters for this game.
Rocus and Francis will take their places at the centre and the left of midfield along with Tomba Singh and Ishfaq Ahmed, while Maxime’s injury will mean that Karim will have to start with young Gilbert Oliveira on the right. Ryuji Sueoka and Edeh Chidi will be the two men upfront while Vinay Singh will hand over the gloves to goalkeeper Karanjit Singh. In their opening game Salgaocar suffered a 0-1 loss against Al Arouba at Oman. They suffered a blow after just twenty-eight minutes when their French midfielder Belouet was stretchered off after being tackled on the ankle.
But Karim’s men put in a brave performance for the rest of the game with Maxime’s replacement Randeep Singh putting in a good performance. Salgaocar were unlucky to concede the goal in that manner as Vinay parried the initial shot from Al Farsi only for Dawrish to tap in from close range. But for the rest of the match, Salgaocar gave Al Arouba a decent fight and matched them till the end.
“I’m happy with the performance because we played well. We could have played better, although our opponents were not easy and gave us a hard time. Al Arouba are a good side and they have good players. We believed we had a chance and our opponents scored from a mistake that we made, therefore I’m satisfied with the performance.” – Salgaocar coach Karim Bencherifa.
FK Neftchi Farg’ona
A similar performance in Goa will see Salgaocar secure at least a point against the table topping Uzbek side, who were 2-1 victors against Al Wehdat in their previous clash. Alinov Aziz and Anwar Beldiev were the scorers for the Uzbeks who are considered the favourites to go through from this group.
“This was our first official game in both the AFC Cup and in Uzbekistan this year, that’s why we were happy to score such an early goal and then it was good that Berdiev scored a second but if you look at the whole game, Al Wehdat had the advantage. After the second goal we played defensively because our players were tired in the second half. But this victory has made us and our people very happy.” said Neftchi coach Hakim Chimatov after the win against Al Wehdat.
Neftchi will have to overcome a spirited Salgaocar side who have not lost in their last 11 domestic games and will have to play out of their skins if they have to overcome the defending I-League champions who will be egged on by their home crowd under lights.
Thehardtackles’ players to watch out for : Ryuji Sueoka (Salgaocar), Alinov Aziz (Neftchi)
Thehardtackle’s prediction : Salgaocar 2-1 Neftchi