Dempo to use home advantage against Muharraq

April 1st, 2008 - 10:20 pm ICT by admin  

Margao, April 1 (IANS) I-League champions Dempo will use the home advantage when they take on Bahrain’s Al Muharraq in a group A match of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup at the Nehru Stadium here Wednesday. After losing 2-3 to Oman’s Sur Club in Muscat, Dempo coach Mauricio Afonso knows that nothing less than a victory will suffice.

“We need to win this match at any cost,” Afonso said here Tuesday. “I told the boys to enjoy the game and have urged them to give 100 percent, as we need to go for a win.”

“Had they tried harder and concentrated (against Sur), they could have won the match, and the club would have been in a better position. But I have confidence in our side’s strength and we will play to that. I will not worry about the opposition,” he added.

Muharraq coach Salman Sharida believes that the clash against Dempo could make or break the Bahraini side’s campaign in the tournament. They currently lead the group with four points, one ahead of the Indian side, meaning a victory for either side will see them move into a strong position to qualify for the knockout stage.

The Bahrain-based side opened their AFC Cup campaign with a 3-2 victory over Sur before being held to a goalless draw at Al Ansar. They gave themselves plenty of time to prepare for the game against the I-League champions, flying to Goa Saturday night, straight after their 3-0 league victory over Al Had.

“The game is one of the most important in the competition as it will be a turning point for our campaign,” said Sharida.

“A victory will put us on top of the group while a defeat will send us back to third place.”

“The players vowed to put a lot of effort in this match in order to get a victory and claim the three points. I have some information about Dempo as I watched their match against Sur and they have good players. They also have a good attacking line and their foreign trio are good,” he said.

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