by Alam Zeb Safi [The News]
Saturday, May 12, 2012
KARACHI: Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) will be aiming to notch off at least a draw which will help them qualify for the final round when they face Chinese Taipei’s Taiwan Power Company in their Group A do-or-die battle of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore on Saturday (today).
The match starts at 8:00 pm and will be broadcast live on PTV Sports.
KRL, who were held by Mongolia’s Erchim FC to a goalless draw in their opener earlier in the week, have got a golden opportunity to make a cut for the six-team finals after Taiwan Power Company beat Erchim FC 1-0 on Thursday to qualify for the final round. Both Erchim FC and KRL share one point each and if KRL are able to pull off a draw tomorrow then they would complete the galaxy of six teams to compete in the September finals.
KRL, who surprisingly missed numerous chances against Erchim FC, need a disciplined performance from their frontline against the defending champions.
But coach Tariq Lutfi is confident that his team would perform better against Taiwan Power Company. “The team did not click against Erchim FC as several easy chances were squandered, but we have worked a lot on the boys and they have been motivated and I am optimistic that they will perform better against Chinese Taipei’s outfit,” Lutfi told ‘The News’ on Friday.
Tariq wants from his players a mature approach towards the game. “We have a balanced side but the players need to play in a mature way and it will be very well if we are able to defeat the defending champions as it will boost the confidence of the boys and a sort of self belief will be created in them which will help them in the next round,” added Tariq, also a former Pakistan coach.
He believes that after having confirmed their berth in the final round, Taiwan Power Company will play against KRL an open game.
“After confirming their place in the finals, our rivals will definitely play open game against us. This could provide us chances to strike against them,” the coach pointed out. But Tariq was quick to add that his side would look to play safely. “As we have a better chance to move ahead we will try not to take too much risk and will play safe and in the meantime if we are able to get chances we will try to convert them,” he said.
However, key striker Kaleemullah’s poor form worries the coach. “Kaleem is our main striker but he is not performing according to his potential. We need him to click,” he said.
After his boys failed to avail themselves of a few chances in their opener, Tariq will be looking to change the positions of some players. “Yes, I plan to change the positions of one or two players. Besides, we have a few good players in the reserves who could be used,” the coach said.
Two-time champions Dordoi Dynamo Bishkek from Kyrgyzstan and Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Crown FC have qualified from Group B, while Tajikistan’s champions Istiklal FC and Al Ammari Youth Club from Palestine have moved into the final round from Group C.