Male: Maziya Sports & Recreation coach Ali Suzain wants to erase the memory of their opening-day AFC Cup defeat to Mohun Bagan as the Maldivians prepare to take on Myanmar’s Yangon United in Matchday Two on Wednesday.
A 5-2 away reversal to the I-League side saw Suzain’s Maziya get their continental campaign off to the worst possible start as they were left propping up Group G.
And with opponents Yangon scoring an impressive 2-1 win over Hong Kong’s South China in their opening fixture, Maziya need a positive result at National Stadium if they are to keep pace with the rest of the group.
“We lost our first match but this will be a good opportunity to forget that bitter result,” said Suzain.
“They have played 10 competitive games and are in good shape but this will only be our second so that will be a big problem for us. Yangon are not new to this stadium either so it will be a tough test for us.”
Kyaw Ko Ko and Brazilian Marcelo Fernandes scored for Myanmar National League champions Yangon as they saw off South China to make a winning return to the competition after a one-year absence.
“It will be a tough match for us as they have 14 national team players, so I can say we’re playing the Maldives national team,” said Yangon’s Macedonian coach Marjan Sekulovski.
“Yes, we have played 10 games which has helped us improve our match fitness, but whoever works harder on the pitch will win tomorrow’s game.”
Wednesday’s other Group G game pits South China against Mohun Bagan at Mongkok Stadium with the Hong Kong side needing to bounce back from their shock Matchday One loss in Yangon.
Casemiro Mior’s South China claimed six wins from six in the 2015 AFC Cup group stage before ultimately suffering a quarter-final loss to eventual winners Johor Darul Ta’zim.
And they will be looking for points on the board on Wednesday as they aim to advance to the knockout phase for the second successive year.
“Our preparation has been good for the last few days, everybody has been focused for this very important match and we hope we can get a positive result,” said Mior.
Making their first appearance in the continental cup since 2009, Mohun Bagan got off to the perfect start as a braces from Jeje Lalpekhlua and Trinidadian Cornell Glen helped them wrap up all three points in an impressive 5-2 win over Maziya.
“South China played well in their first game but were unfortunate to lose,” said Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen.
“We want maximum points from our first two games but we know it will be a challenge. We have a few niggles but everybody is ready to play.”
Photo: Lagardère Sports