East Bengal eyeing last-16 berth of AFC Cup
Kolkata: Leaders East Bengal will look to take themselves closer to a pre-quarterfinal berth in the AFC Cup when they face struggling Tampines Rovers of Singapore at Yubabharati Krirangan here on Tuesday.
The stadium will hold a football match seven days after it hosted the Indian Premier League Sixth Season opening ceremony.
Having beaten the same side by a record 4-2 margin in an away match five days ago, East Bengal will be upbeat to do an encore at their home turf, something that will take them closer to a last 16 place.
The 4-2 margin was East Bengal`s highest in an away match in the AFC Cup as the red-and-gold brigade will look for another win under coach Trevor Morgan who`s set to leave the club after his contract expires at the end of the season.
With a past experience in the S-League, Morgan knows the Singapore team and his expertise will once again come handy for East Bengal.
Captain Mustafic Fahrudin of the Tampines, incidentally, had played under Morgan during the Englishman`s stint in the S-League.
The Tampines will look to their captain Mustafiq who will make a return after being suspended in their last match.
Tampines head coach Nenad Bacina on Monday said their team felt being at home.
"Conditions are no different. We are used to playing on artificial turf. Weather is also not very different as it`s quite hot out there," Bacina said.
Morgan, however, was not happy with the 3.15 pm kickoff and said, "We have no home advantage as we will have to play under the scorching heat."
Unbeaten from three matches, East Bengal lead the Group H with seven points.
The Singapore outfit, who are the reigning S-League champions, are on the brink of elimination as they are yet to win from three outings (1 point) to lie at the bottom.