India’s East Bengal take on Lebanon’s Safa in AFC CUP

April 29th, 2008 - 8:56 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, April 29 (IANS) A depleted East Bengal will be sans Brazilian striker Edmilson Marques and defender M. Suresh when they take on Lebanon’s Safa FC in a crucial group B battle in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup here Wednesday. Safa lead the table with eight points, followed by East Bengal (6) and Jordan’s Al Wihdat (5). Only one team will move into the quarter final from the group.

India’s Federation Cup champions East Bengal desperately need a win to move into the knock out stage, and coach Aloke Mukherjee felt that his team needs to captilise on the scoring opportunities at the Salt Lake Stadium.

Mukherjee’s boys went down 0-1 to Safa in the away match at Beirut, and the coach felt that his boys failed to convert the chances which came their way.

“All the boys are charged up. We want to win. We need good finishing,” the coach said on the eve of the match here Tuesday.

East Bengal will miss Edmilson, who was red carded in the previous encounter opposite Al Wihdat of Jordan.

Syed Rahim Nabi and Ike Ibe Gift will be striking pair for the Kolkata outfit , while injured defender Suresh would be replaced by either Anupam Sarkar or Vinu Jose.

Mukherjee said that both captain Alvito de Cunha and Nabi were carrying injuries, but will take the field.

The scorching heat and humidity will be a factor and the match has been scheduled to start at 3:00 pm.

“Every team consists of professionals who are capable of adjusting to any type of condition,” he said.

Safa coach Sameer Sadh also reiterated Mukherjee’s comments and said his team will not face any problem due to the conditions.

The Lebanese will play the traditional 4-4-2 format and will have the services of all their foreign imports — strikers Bernard Raphail Mbassi and defender Pierre Milat of Cameroon and Ghanaian midfielder Bobby Prince.

“East Bengal are a good side. It is very difficult to predict the outcome as the group has produced some surprising results,” he said.

“One of the top three sides will move to the quarters. There is a neck and neck fight. But we are hoping to end up as the successful team,” Sadh said.

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