Bottom-placed East Bengal to take on Arbil in AFC Cup match

Kolkata: Bottom-placed East Bengal would be determined to open their tally when they take on Iraqi side Arbil in their group B AFC Cup match at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, on Wednesday.

East Bengal have lost both their group matches, going down to Al Orouba (1-0) at home and then suffering a 0-3 rout against Kuwait`s Kazba in their away match.

With two more home leg matches remaining including this one, coach Trevor Morgan`s boys would look to get into the act, something that would help their I-League campaign as they lie in second position.

The Iraqi side are also in title contention in their domestic league sitting atop the 20-team standings after 19 rounds.

Arbil, who had finished second in their domestic league and made the semi-final of the AFC Cup last season however are yet to win a match in the ongoing tournament with draws in their last two fixtures to lie ahead of East Bengal with two points.

The Iraqi squad for their match against East Bengal boast of three national side players -- midfielders Saad Abdul Amir, Mahdi Karim and Ahmad Ibrahim in the defence.

Experienced Karim, who was part of their 2007 Asian Cup winning squad, would play a crucial role in the supply line while Nigerian Obodo Efe would be their key striker.

The team also have three other foreigners in Syrian medios Abdelrazaq Al Hussain and Nadim Sabagh, and Ugandan defender Ivan Bukenya.

East Bengal would travel to the Iraqi city for the return leg match on April 10 with Englishman coach Morgan and Aussie forward Tolgay Ozbey being advised against the trip for security concerns.

But Arbil`s media manager Waleed Tabra said there was no safety concern with the city being a favourite tourist destination in Iraq.

"Arbil is a tourist destination attracting a lot of foreigners every year. They are most welcome to our country and enjoy our hospitality," he said.


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