Hosts face Pocheon challenge
Hosts Chittagong Abahani hope to put on their 'optimum performance' when they face Korean side Pocheon Citizen FC in the second semifinal at MA Aziz Stadium today to ensure a place in the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup tournament final.
The match will get underway from 6:30pm with private satellite channel Maasranga TV telecasting the event live.
Holders Chittagong Abahani emerged group champions to book their semifinal seat but their performances in the last two matches, against Dhaka Mohammedan SC and Manang Marshyangdi Club, were not satisfactory as they narrowly survived both fixtures before managing two successive draws.
If their current form continues then it will definitely be tough for the home side to put up a fight against Pocheon Citizen who are obviously ahead of Chittagong Abahani in terms of skill, technique, tactics, movement and fitness.
On the other hand, despite Pocheon Citizen failing to carry the tempo they displayed when they faced FC Alga of Kyrgyzstan to the next two matches against Dhaka Abahani and TC Sports Club of Maldives, they moved into the last four battle as the group's second best team with one win and two draws. However, the third-tier outfit from South Korea are still the side to beat.
“Pocheon is a good side. Having watched their matches, it seemed to me that everything modern football needs such as defending, attacking and transition are being maintained by Pocheon. Though they created a lot of chances they converted only three but there is no doubt that they are strong side,” said Chittagong Abahani coach Saiful Bari Titu at the pre-match conference yesterday.
“However, we are waiting to give our optimum in the tournament. Actually we have to give our best, if we want to beat them. We need the optimum performance to reach the final and our players are ready even for 120 minutes,” was the bottom line from Titu, who looked furious with his charges during their come-from-behind 2-2 draw against Manang Marshyangdi Club.
Titu's 4-3-3 formation worked well against Shaheen Asmayee of Afghanistan but then it all went wrong against Mohammedan and Manang Marshyangdi, who were unlucky to have not posted a win over Chittagong Abahani. And so, the AFC A licensed coach is likely to mull over the idea of playing counter attack against Pocheon Citizen with Haitian hitman Augustine Walson possibly stepping in upfront for Nigerian marksman Kingsley Chigozie who might be sidelined due to an injury he sustained during the previous match.
“We may bring one or two changes in the squad that played against Manang Marshyangdi,” said Titu hinting that winger Zahid Hasan is likely to be drafted in place of winger Mohammad Ibrahim while Ghanaian defender Adam Jankasa comes in place of Kingsley.
Meanwhile, Pocheon Citizen FC looks confident to return to winning ways after two successive draws.
“If we can play the way we have performed in last three matches, we can expect something good in the semifinal,” said Pocheon Citizen FC captain Han Yong Su at the pre-match conference. “We are under a bit of pressure but the defending champions are under more pressure I think.”
Pocheon Citizen FC official Lee Kwang Deok said, “We are a team of K-3 league and Chittagong Abahani are a team from Bangladesh's top tier but we are ready for the semifinals and hope the match will be a good one.”