Minerva Punjab and Abahani Dhaka are set to clash in a 2019 AFC (Asian Football Condeferation) Cup Group E tie at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka on Wednesday.
|Game||Abahani Dhaka v Minerva Punjab|
|Date||April 17, 5:15 PM (IST)|
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Key players: Akash Sangwan, Samuel Lalmuanpuia
Minerva held Indian Super League (ISL) side Chennaiyin FC to a 0-0 draw at the TranStadia Arena in Ahmedabad in their AFC camapign opener and if the Chandigarh-based side can keep things tight at the back, then they should at least return with a point from Bangladesh.
Much will depend on the partnership of Kareem Nurain and Jorge Caicedo at the heart of defence. The duo must put their best foot forward so that Minerva's shut-shop tactic churns out the desired outcome.
In midfield, Mahmoud Al Amna will be the key figure along with loanee Samuel Lalmuanpuia. Minerva would like to involve Amna as much as they can to unlock a sturdy Abahani defence. Whereas, Lalmuanpuia's pace and shooting skills will come in handy in the attacking third.
The opposition must be careful so that they do not give away cheap free-kicks within the vicinity of the penalty box as the Shillong Lajong skipper has the affinity to find the net from dead ball situations more often than not.
On the other hand, Dhaka are in brilliant form going into this crucial game. They have won five games on the trot now, one of which came against Manang Marshyangdi in the AFC Cup.
The 2017/18 Bangladesh Football Premier League champions are in second position this season, trailing Bashundhara Kings by one point.
Sunday Chizoba will be crucial for the home side and Caicedo will have the onus to keep a check on him.
Can the W arriors register a shock win in Bangladesh or will the home side romp to their second victory in the group stage and consolidate their position on top of the table?