Abahani will aim for any result other than a defeat when the six-time Bangladesh Premier League champions take on Chennaiyin FC in an away match of the AFC Cup at the Arena Stadium in Ahmedabad, India today.
Abahani and Chennaiyin FC are equal on four points from two outings, however, the Indian Super League champions are ahead of Abahani with a better goal difference. Therefore, today’s match is crucial for both teams if either hope to strengthen their position in the four-team group.
The Sky Blues seemed to have been in high spirits following an away-win over Manang Marshyangdi and a draw at home against Minerva Punjab but after their on-song Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba failed to obtain a visa to travel with the team, the side’s morale dropped a bit.
In addition, centre-backs Tapu Barman and Tutul Hossain Badsha will probably not be available against Chennaiyin FC due to injuries and so, Abahani are likely to face problems in the attacking third as well as the backline.
With three key players absent for the encounter, Abahani should hope to only avoid defeat in their bid to remain in the title race alongside Chennaiyin FC, who are said to be a fierce opponent to face on their home ground.
“The first target is to achieve the full three points. If it is not possible, then one point is still a good result since we have a few players are absent because of injuries and Sunday’s visa situation,” Abahani’s Portuguese coach Mario Lemos told The Daily Star over phone yesterday.
“I think Chennaiyin FC are a very strong opponent with a lot of quality players but we are looking forward for this match and believe we can get a result from here,” added an optimistic Lemos, who is however a bit concerned with the heat and humidity in Ahmedabad.
“The preparation has been good. We are adapting to the weather which is very hot, plus 40 degrees average,” said Lemons.