Tough task for India’s Dempo against Lebanon’s Al Ansar in AFC Cup

April 29th, 2008 - 9:51 pm ICT by admin  


Beirut, April 29 (IANS) India’s I-League champions will have a tough task at hand when they take on Lebanon’s Al Ansar in a crucial Group A encounter of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup here Wednesday. The reigning Lebanon League champions share top spot in the group with Bahraini champions Al Muharraq on seven points. Dempo are just a point behind with two games remaining.

Given the tight situation at the top of the group, Ansar coach Jamal Taha is looking for nothing less than a win against Dempo at the Beirut Sports City Stadium here.

With Wednesday’s game being Ansar’s final home match before they complete the group stage with a visit to Bahrain to face Muharraq in two weeks time, Taha knows how important it will be for his side to get a result against the Indian outfit.

“The game is very important as we share top spot in the group with Muharraq and a good result on Wednesday will give us a good chance of qualifying for the next stage,” said Taha.

“Our team has performed well in our last three matches but we must continue our good work before our decisive last match in the group against Muharraq,” he added.

Dempo, who arrived here Monday, climbed back into contention after a 2-1 away win against Muharraq a fortnight ago and are confident of getting a similar result against Ansar.

“The win against Muharraq revived our chances in the AFC Cup,” said Dempo coach Mauricio Afonso, whose side also beat Ansar 3-1 in Goa in their opening game.

“We were pleased to win our last match against the top team in the group. That result got us back on track and hopefully we will build on that performance in our next two matches,” he added,

Ansar will be missing the services of the suspended pair of Malek Hassoun and Ahmed Al Choum, but still Taha remains confident.

“We have studied all the problems that we might face in the game,” he said.

“We have prepared the players who will fill in the gaps and hopefully they will play well and not have any problems.

“Dempo will be in good spirits after their win against Muharraq in their last match so the game will not be easy for us. However, we also performed well in our last match and we promise our fans that we will play a good match against Dempo and get a good result before our match against Muharraq,” he said.

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