As Semen Padang accustomed themselves to the Indian conditions, the coach of the Indonesian side acknowledges that East Bengal’s potent players need to be dealt with...
Semen Padang FC, the Indonesian Premier League club, may find themselves a few thousand miles away from their base, but were comfortably finding their footsteps in the practice sessions held at the Salt Lake stadium, Kolkata.
They are in the city ahead of their crucial AFC Cup quarter-final first leg, against Indian heavyweights, East Bengal. They seemed to be in the groove in their first session, although there were a few constrained complaints.
Padang’s Liberian striker, Edward Junior Wilson, raised concerns about the artificial turf laid out at the stadium opining to The Telegraph, “It is a bit hard and a little difficult to play on. But we are confident that we can adjust.” He cited the examples of matches played by the team in Singapore, where artificial pitches were the only type available.
The team’s Indonesian coach, Jafri Sastra, seemed to be less concerned with the nature of the pitch than that of the threat posed by the strikers of East Bengal.
“I have seen videos of East Bengal matches. They are a good team. Edeh Chidi and James Moga are dangerous players. But we have our plans in place and we hope to win both the legs,” elucidated coach Sastra, who clearly wants his team to be focused on getting the job done away before seal the dealing back home.
In a bit of depressing team news, East Bengal are likely to be without Ryuji Seouka, the Japanese international, who is unlikely to be in the starting eleven, let alone the squad, after having to nurse an injury for the majority of the summer.
West Sumatra governor Irwan Prayitno, seems to have taken diplomatic representation to a whole new level, after it was revealed that he had been accompanying the team on their visit. He went so far as to watch the team practice in a two hour session at the stadium.
Padang had earlier beaten Churchill Brothers 3-1 at home while drawing 2-2 away in the group stages, thus locking their place in the quarter-finals.
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