|Ha Noi T&T coach Phan Thanh Hung (second, left) shakes hand with Maziya Sports coach Ismail Mahfooz at the press briefing yesterday in the capital city. — Photo thethaovanhoa
HA NOI (VNS) — Ha Noi T&T will play Maziya Sports&Recreation of the Maldives in the first match of the Asian Football Federation Cup's Group F this afternoon.
The match will be played at the Hang Day Stadium in the capital city.
Speaking at the press briefing yesterday, coach Phan Thanh Hung of T&T said he had researched about his rivals on the Internet and found that they were worthy contenders.
"They do not have a modern playing style but the players are strong. We cannot underestimate them," Hung said.
The coach also revealed that the V-League champions were facing a shortage of qualified players for this match.
"Our challenges are the absence of key players. Forward Gonzalo Marronkle and midfielder Tien Dung are injured, while defenders Hoang Vu Samson and Sam Gallagher must be sidelined after they received red cards [in recent match against Thailand].
"However, playing on the home ground is our advantage and T&T is determined to take all three points," Hung said.
T&T were eliminated from the AFC Champions League early this month after losing 0-2 to Thailand's Muangthong United in the playoff match.
Maziya Sports are not strangers to the Vietnamese people. They had lost to SHB Da Nang twice during the Cup last year.
Coach Ismail Mahfooz yesterday said Maziya recently recruited two foreigners from Sierra Leone and Bulgaria to strengthen their power. He hoped that his team would not return home empty-handed.
"I just know that Ha Noi T&T is a strong team with very good foreign players. They may be the strongest team in the group, and they have the advantage of playing at home. So we've prepared very carefully for the game," Mahfooz was quoted as saying on the afc.com.
"This will be a very tough game and we must perform at our best. Although anything can happen in football, I hope that we will gain one or three points from the game."
Also in Group F today, Malaysian Super League runners-up Selangor will take on Arema Indonesia. – VNS