Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Sông Lam Nghệ An will not have its best players for today’s match against Persija Jakarta at the AFC Cup but the Vietnamese team still wants three points.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, Coach Nguyễn Đức Thắng said his side would not miss any point when they play on the home turf of Vinh Stadium.
“Sông Lam Nghệ An does not have 100 per cent of its strength when goalkeeper Lê Văn Hùng does not play due to his tense muscles while midfielder Võ Ngọc Toàn has not recovered from his injury. We have watched clips of their matches and tried to find their weaknesses and ways to benefit from it,” said Thắng.
He further added that all the teams in the Cup are strong because they are representing their countries including Persija Jakarta. The Indonesian side has a player who can change the match. Hence, it could be difficult for Sông Lam Nghệ An.
He said his players were asked to play a focussed game because football is special and anything can happen.
Captain Quế Ngọc Hải also appreciated his rivals who have a good physique and team spirit but confirmed that he does not know them much and that Sông Lam Nghệ An would try its best to get a good result.
On the other side, Persija Jakarta coach Stefano Cugurra said his team has not come here to lose.
The Brazilian has been in Asia for many years, spending time in South Korea, Thailand and Singapore. He has not worked in Việt Nam yet but knows that it is home to many talented players. He knows Sông Lam Nghệ An has young quality players.
Cugurra brings 18 players to Vinh City, three of them are foreigners from Brazil, Nepal and Croatia. They have not practiced much since the previous game but would do their best, he added.
Defender Ismed Sofyan said Sông Lam Nghệ An were stronger than Tampines Rovers and Johor Darul Ta’zim, but that does not mean they do not have any weakness.
Meanwhile, veteran Bambang Pamungkas said Persija Jakarta would get at least one point from this match.
Sông Lam Nghệ An is currently on top of Group H while Persija Jakarta is in third place. The third win would open the door for the hosts to the next round of the tournament. — VNS