Players of Manang Marsyangdi Club during a training session in Chittagong, Bangladesh, Tuesday on the eve of their Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup Group B match against Shaheen Asmayee of Afganistan.
KATHMANDU, Feb 21: Nepal's football giant Manang Marsyangdi Club is looking for a win over Afghani side Shaheen Asmayee on Wednesday with the aim to secure semifinal berth with a match in hand at the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Manang had registered a 2-0 victory in its first group match against home team Mohammedan Sporting Club and now a win over Shaheen will see the A Division outfit confirm its spot in the last four before the last group match. Afghani league champion Shaheen faced a 3-1 defeat to Chittagong Abahani Limited in its first match on Sunday.
Manang's head coach Chhiring Lopsang expects the match against Shaheen to be competitive. “As Shaheen lost its first group match, it is in a do or die situation. Thus, they will throw a tough fight against us. We are also under pressure because we want to win this match in order to book a spot in the last four,” said Lopsang.
He also said that the opponent has a strong midfield and forward but weak defense so the strategy will be made accordingly. Lopsang also informed that he will make some changes to the playing XI he fielded in the last match. He hinted that Bikram Lama who came off the bench in the match against Mohammedan to start on Wednesday. Similarly, Nirajan Malla and Dona Thapa also could make place in the starting eleven while there will be no changes in defense and goalkeeping according to Lopsang.
Manang skipper Anil Gurung said that the players are highly motivated after making a winning start to the tournament. “We arrived here with good preparation and given the win in the first group match we are hopeful for a positive result,” said Gurung, “We want to keep our wining form and pull a second straight victory in order to confirm our place in the semifinals.”
Meanwhile, Shaheen's assistant coach Mujtaba Faiz vowed not to repeat the mistakes faced in the opening match when his team takes on Manang. “We know that Wednesday's match will be very important to us and we have to put our best performance to triumph over the opponent,” said assistant coach Faiz.
“The defects and weaknesses of the first game were analyzed by our head coach and necessary actions have been taken,” added Faiz.
Meanwhile Nepali national team goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong's TC Sports club has advanced to the semifinals after producing second win in the group over FC Alga Bishkek of Kyrgyzstan. Maldivian side TC, which had defeated home team Dhaka Abahani 1-0 in the fisrt group stage match, overcame Alga 2-1 on Monday.
Manang's probable starting line up
GK: Dinesh Thapa Magar
Defense: Biraj Maharjan, Devendra Tamang, Adama Boh Sissoko, Kamal Shrestha
Midfield: Bikram Lama, Rohit Chand, Bishal Rai, Sujal Shrestha
Forward: Anil Gurung, Afeez Olawale Oladipo