Monday, 19 March 2012

Hong Kong club Kitchee worried over Terengganu's pitch in AFC Cup

Francis Doe, the hot weather and an uneven pitch have got Hong Kong's Kitchee head coach Josep Gombau alittle worried ahead of their AFC Cup Group F match against Terengganu at Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium in Kuala Terengganu tomorrow.

The Spaniard, who was at the stadium with his players when Doe scored a hat-trick for Terengganu in their 6-3 home league win over Sabah on Saturday, said the Liberian striker is skillful enough to pose a real threat to the Hong Kong First Division leaders.

"We saw enough to know that Terengganu are a dangerous team when going forward and since we are also an attacking team, we expect the match on Tuesday (tomorrow) will be an explosive and high-scoring one," Gambau said when met yesterday.

Gombau, who arrived with his team in Kuala Terengganu on Friday, said apart from Doe, his players will also have to worry about the hot weather and the uneven pitch.

"It's about 17 degrees Celcius in Hong Kong at this time of year but here we notice the temperature rises to above 30 degrees during the day and we are going to play in the afternoon.

"We also noticed that the stadium pitch is not that good unlike what we are used to back home and that may just give the home side an upper hand although I still think that the match is going to be closely contested," he said.

The coach said his team had not been training well as the field provided for the team is sub-standard at best.

"We have decided to move our practice session today (yesterday) to the hockey stadium in town as the artificial pitch there is more suitable for us to train.

"But make no mistake, regardless of the conditions we plan to go back with three points," said Gombau, who steered his team to a 3-1 home win over Singapore's Tampines Rovers in the opening round match.

Meanwhile, Terengganu coach Mat Zan Mat Aris said the convincing win over Sabah might just be the tonic needed by his team to secure their second AFC Cup win.

"All this while our wins have always been by a single-goal but last (Saturday) night, we proved that we can win big as well and, hopefully, we will be able to do it again against Kitchee.

"Not many expected us to beat Song Lam Nghe An in Vietnam in the opening round but we did it away from home and this time we are going to take full advantage of playing at home," he said.

Mat Zan confirmed that first choice goalkeeper Sarbinee Allawee has recovered from his groin injury and is likely to start against Kitchee.

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