Kuwait SC - East Bengal Preview: The Red and Gold look for a positive result
The Kolkata outfit have encountered several issues off-the-pitch, but will be looking to put all of it behind them, when they take the pitch for the first leg of the AFC Cup semis
By Ayush Srivastava
East Bengal take on defending champions Kuwait SC in the first leg of their AFC Cup semi-final clash on Tuesday at the Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium in Kuwait.
There is a heavy cloud of controversy surrounding the game, with initially three East Bengal players, Arnab Mondal, Mehtab Hossain and Gurwinder Singh not able to leave with the squad on time, due to visa issues.
Even after reaching Kuwait, the apathy of the local organizers has been evident, with the club being given poor facilities, including a rationing of drinking water.
While a complaint has been registered with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the match shall be held as per schedule.
With Arnab and Mehtab only getting a single day’s training, Marcos Falopa’s side have definitely not had the best preparation for the game. The absence of the injured Ryuji Sueoka is another dampener for the side.
East Bengal’s coach though, is looking forward to a physical clash, and is hoping his extensive experience of working in West Asia will come in handy.
“They are physically stronger and have very good foreigners. But they will make a big mistake if they do not show us the respect we deserve. We are not in the semi-finals just like that. It will be a difficult battle, but we are ready for it.”
He also stated that he had received advice from acquaintances who coach in the region. “One of my friends in Kuwait called me and gave me some inputs on our opponents. I also have the experience of working in West Asia for 11 years. So I know it’s going to be tough against Kuwait SC.”
The defending champions though, will be tough nuts to crack for the Kolkatan outfit, as they cruised past Radiant SC of Maldives in the last round and have also won their first four games in the Kuwaiti Premier League.
Tunisian International Issam Jemaa, who is currently the top-scorer in the competition, having scored seven times against Radiant SC, is the player East Bengal will have to keep a tight leash on, if they are to come away with a good result from the first leg.
The link-up play between Jemaa and Brazilian attacker Rogerio has been the basis on which the club has dominated oppositions so far, and Mehtab Hossain will have to keep an eye on the Brazilian, whenever he looks to drop in-between the lines.
Falopa is looking forward to a tight, tactical game, and mentioned, "I am looking forward to a tactical game in Kuwait and I am happy that we are playing the first leg away from home. Playing the second leg at home would give you a clear picture what is your target to be achieved.”
Chidi Edeh and James Moga upfront will try to take advantage of the fact that Yaqoub Al Taheris, who is a vital cog in Kuwait SC’s defense, is suspended after picking up a red card in the quarter-final.
With the second leg in Kolkata, East Bengal shall definitely look for a result which keeps them in contention. with their ultimate aim being to reach the final. If they can come away with a positive result, including a scoring draw, they shall definitely fancy their chances infront of their passionate supporters.
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Top 3 Predictions
AlKuwait SC 0-2 East Bengal F.C.
- 21.74 %
AlKuwait SC 1-1 East Bengal F.C.
- 17.39 %
AlKuwait SC 1-2 East Bengal F.C.
- 16.3 %
|AFC Cup (AC)||22-Oct-2013||East Bengal F.C. 0 - AlKuwait SC 3|
|AFC Cup (AC)||01-Oct-2013||AlKuwait SC 4 - East Bengal F.C. 2|
|08-Mar-2014||AlSalmiyah 1 - AlKuwait SC 1||KUW1|
|25-Feb-2014||AlKuwait SC 2 - Al Nejmeh 1||AC|
|21-Feb-2014||Khaitan Sporting Club 2 - AlKuwait SC 1||KUW1|
|18-Feb-2014||Al Yarmouk Sporting Club 0 - AlKuwait SC 2||KUW1|
|15-Feb-2014||Lekhwiya 4 - AlKuwait SC 1||ACL|
|-||Musab Al Kandari||Goalkeeper|
|-||Waleed Ali Jumah||Midfielder|
|-||Abdullah Al Buraiki||Midfielder|
|-||Shereedah Al Shereedah||Midfielder|
|-||Jarah Al Ateeqi||Midfielder|
|-||Husain Ali Baba||Midfielder|
|-||Sami Al Sanea||Midfielder|
|-||Abdullah Al Dhafeeri||Midfielder|
|30||Gurpreet Singh Sandhu||Goalkeeper|
|8||Thokchom Naoba Singh||Defender|