|Sông Lam Nghệ An’s Phạm Xuân Mạnh (left) kicks a ball during Sông Lam Nghệ An vs Persija Jakarta match on March 6 in Vinh. The two teams will play each other again today in Jakarta. — Photo foxsportsasia.com|Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Sông Lam Nghệ An will rest most of their best players when they meet Persija Jakarta in the second-leg Group H match of the Asian Football Confederation Cup today.
Coach Nguyễn Đức Thắng took only 16 players to Indonesia on Monday. Captain Quế Ngọc Hải, national U23 midfielder Phan Văn Đức and foreign striker Michael Olaha stayed at home.
Thắng said he wanted these players to rest after working hard in four matches in a row in both domestic and continental competitions. Sông Lam Nghệ An will need their energy for three tournaments this season, and Thắng does not have many substitutes to replace his key players in case of injuries or fines.
Thắng said it would also be an opportunity for the young players to experience international competition to sharpen their skills.
Sông Lam Nghệ An currently have seven points and top the group. They have high chances of advancing to the next round and will have an official slot in the next stage if they beat Persija Jarkarta, who drew them 0-0 in the first-leg match in Vinh City last week.
Sông Lam Nghệ An are the only Southeast Asian team in the tournament who have not suffered any loss after three matches.
Persija Jakarta, meanwhile, are at the third place with four points.
Playing on their “holy land” at the 76,000-seater Gelora Bungkarno Stadium, the Indonesian side will receive strong encouragement from local supporters. Persija Jakarta have lifted the Liga 1 trophy nine times. Formerly known as the Indonesia Super League, Liga 1 is the highest-level professional competition in the country.
The match will start at 6.30pm and will be telecast live on Fox Sport.
Another match of the group will take place between Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia and Tampines Rover FC of Singapore in Johor Bahru at 8.45pm. — VNS