Dempo face do or die AFC Cup match against Al Ansar
Pune: Struggling for form after their
opening match win, I-League champions Dempo face a do-or-die
situation in their last group league tie against Al Ansar of
Lebanon in the AFC Cup on Wednesday.
It has been a disappointing tournament for Dempo having
won just their opening match against Al Tilal of Yemen here on
March 1 and their morale got a severe beating after a 0-9
humiliation by Nasaf FC of Uzbekistan later on.
Armando Colaco`s side, who are on four points from one
win and one draw, still have a chance to advance to the round
of 16 if they beat Al Ansar tomorrow and Nasaf FC, tipped to
even win the tournament, defeat Al Tilal in another Group A
match at Karshi, Uzbekistan.
Dempo had lost their away match against tomorrow`s
opponents 0-2 but the Indian champion side could turn the
tables in their `home` match at Shivaji Chhatrapati Stadium at
Balewadi, though they are deprived of playing at Margao due to
the unavailability of Nehru Stadium there.
Nasaf FC, who have already qualified for round of 16
knock-out stage, have secured 15 points having won all their
five league matches so far and they are expected to beat Al
Tilal (four points) tomorrow at home.
Dempo need nothing less than a win. If Dempo beat Al
Ansar, they will secure seven points and will go through the
knock-out stage while the Lebanese side, who have won two of
their five matches so far, will end on six points.
Fortunately for Armando Colaco, all his top players
including the likes of Ranty Martins, Roberto Mendis da Silva,
Mahesh Gawli and Climax Lawrence are expected to be available
for tomorrow`s match.
The only thing Dempo need in good measure is the
confidence and the Goan side, who had reached the semifinals
of the tournament in 2008, are lacking in that aspect.
After the 0-9 humiliation at the hands of Nasaf FC, the
heaviest defeat in the AFC Cup history, Dempo were held to a
2-2 draw by Al Tilal in a match at Margao which the Goan side
dominated and should have won.