AFC Cup: Salgaocar SC play for honour

The now former I-League champions Salgaocar SC are out of the AFC Cup, but in their Group D home match against Al Arouba from Oman they will hope to finally break the jinx and win their first game of their AFC Cup campaign. Kick-off is at 17.45 IST at the Nehru Stadium, Margao.

"If you look at our previous matches, I think we have performed really well despite setbacks. This shows the character and the fighting spirit our team possess. Apart from the match in Jordan where we lost 5-0, I think our performance in the AFC Cup was satisfactory, I hope to put up a good show in front of our Home fans," said coach Karim Bencherifa.

Salgaocar is boosted by the return of Brazilian captain Luciano Sobrosa, but will be without suspended duo Irungbam Khelemba Singh and Rocus Lamare while Nigerian striker Chidi Edeh and Japanese midfielder Ryuji Sueoka will be missed again due to injury. Further French midfielder Maxim Belouet is also not fully fit as is the case with Biswajit Saha and Rahul Kumar.

"We have played 24 rounds in the I-League and most of our players are nearing 40 matches this season, it's a tough season for the players. Having said that, I would also like to stress that tomorrow's game will be a challenge for us," added Bencherifa.

For Al Arouba it is about taking the points back home to stay in contention for a place in the pre-quarterfinals.

"The match against Salgaocar will be our last chances to maintain any hope of qualifying to the next stage especially after losing two important points in the previous match against Neftchi," said Al Arouba coach Mukhtar Mukhtar.

"Winning against Salgaocar will open the door for us to compete for a place in the next stage especially because we will host Al Wehdat at home in the last match," Mukhtar added.

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