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Rediff.com  » Sports » Al Hussein, Dempo to clash in AFC Cup

Al Hussein, Dempo to clash in AFC Cup

April 05, 2005 16:44 IST

The soaring heat could pose a hurdle for Al Hussein when they take on Federation Cup champions Dempo in the first leg tie of the AFC Cup at the Nehru stadium, in Fatorda, Goa, on Wednesday.

Al Hussein, leading the group after an impressive 4-0 victory over Al Ahed, need a draw to stay on top at the end of the first leg matches in the league.

Coming from colder climes, the Jordanians, ranked third in their National League, might be troubled by the hot and humid weather. However, they arrived in Goa three days earlier to get acclimatised and had five practice sessions so far.

Al Hussein team manager Fahmi Roshan Naimi said their aim is to win and expressed confidence that the team would collect full points.

"We have watched Dempo playing against Al Ahed. They are a good side and I was impressed with their style of playing long ball passes," he said, adding Nigerian striker Ranty Martins and 'keeper Satish Kumar could be pose a threat to them.

"We have special plans to counter Ranty," Fahmi stated.

Al Hussein players, with the average height of six feet, will play more with long ball passes to unsettle their opponents. Coach Osama Ahmed Saleem said, "We will begin cautiously, but go all out for an attack towards the end."

The in-form Jordan club appears to be formidable as they boast of players from Egypt and Iraq. Egyptians – Ibrahim Yehia and Othman Mohammad -- would handle the defence while Iraq's Mazin Muhsen is  the principle linkman in midfield.

Olympian Ahmad Hatamleh, the 22-year old midfielder, is another key member while 26-year-old striker Anas Zboun, who is known to gel well with the likes of Husein Ahmad Radad and Omar Ahmad, form Al Hussein's striking arsenal.

Dempo, who had light session this morning will miss the services of Sameer Naik, Jose Colaco, Lazarus Fernandes and Raju Singh due to injuries, while Stanley Colaco, with a groin injury, remains a doubtful starter.

Coach Armando Colaco is confident that the boys will rise to the occasion as they did against East Bengal in the NFL, and Al Ahed at Beirut in the AFC Cup match, where they went down narrowly through a controversial goal.

"We have watched our opponents during practice sessions in the last three days and have worked out a plan to counter them. We know for sure that they will try to play cautious in the beginning and are ready for it," he said.

"Our boys know how to handle pressure in tight situations and did not get bogged down against Al Ahed, who were tall and robust, but played their attacking game with varied pattern," added Colaco.

Dempo's strike partners Ranty Martins and R C Prakash said they would give their best and strive for victory.

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