|Sportsmanship: Coach Phan Thanh Hung of Ha Noi T&T (second, left) shakes hand with his Arema counterpart Suharto after a press briefing yesterday in Ha Noi. — VNS Photo Tuan Tu
HA NOI (VNS) — Hosts Ha Noi T&T coach hopes his team will remain on top in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup after the final group match today in the capital city.
T&T will play Arema Indonesia in Group F; both the teams have already won berths in the last 16 round. But the team that wins will get to host
the next match, which according to both teams is an important factor of all the matches.
"It is an important match for both as it would decide who will be the leader.
The match is very crucial as both the teams want to win," addressed Phan Thanh Hung at the press briefing yesterday.
"We are leading by two points. If the result of this match is a draw our team will be at an advantage. However, it would not be easy because Arema is also a tough team," he added.
"We defeated them 3–1 in the first leg game but it is tough to get the same results again. They also will not want to miss this chance."
Hung had his reasons.
T&T cannot play with the original members of the team as midfielders Cao Sy Cuong and Bui Van Hieu cannot compete because of two yellow cards from previous matches.
And Nguyen Van Quyet, one of the tournament's leading scorers, has just recovered from injury.
Also, the V-League defending champions just finished an exhausting 2–2 match against Quang Nam during the V-League at the weekend.
"Yes, difficult matches in V-League really affect our physique. Our players have to work hard in all competitions. But we have planned and prepared, arranged things well, and will complete our task perfectly," said Hung, who worried about Lopez Gustavo Fabian, one of Arema's best players who will be back in action today.
"Fabian is a good player. He will definitely play in tomorrow's match. We will keep an eye out for him."
Fabian is a close friend to T&T's captain Marronkle Gonzalo Damian who scored two goals in their last match on March 11.
When asked about his friend, Damian said he will try his level best against Fabian,who was a skilled athlete.
Arema Indonesia arrived at Viet Nam with 19 players, of them three are foreigners and two are naturalised.
Arema coach Suharno yesterday described T&T as a strong team but he was not worried much about it.
"They are powerful listed on the top position of Group F, but we want to be the hosts for the next tournament, which requires us to win tomorrow's match," said Suharno through an interpreter.
Arema captain Victor Chukwuekezie Igbonefo said T&T had good players. We lost to them in the first leg match but we learnt a lot from them.
The match will start at the Hang Day Stadium at 5pm. — VNS