Abahani Limited’s Portuguese head coach Mario Lemos is now looking forward to their final group stage match against Minerva Punjab in India next week
Abahani Limited are enjoying their best run in the AFC Cup, topping their group with only a game remaining, and their Wednesday’s thrashing 5-0 win over Manang Marshyangdi Club was their highest margin of victory in more than a decade.
Abahani’s Portuguese head coach Mario Lemos is now looking forward to their final group stage match against Minerva Punjab in India next week.
The Bangladesh champion will travel to Guwahati to play their final group phase fixture against I-League champion Minerva Wednesday, while Indian Super League champion Chennaiyin, who are two points behind Abahani, play away at Manang.
Any result except a win for Chennaiyin will see Abahani move through to the next round, regardless of the latter's result against Minerva.
But if Chennaiyin win, Abahani must beat Minerva, who are yet to lose a match with five draws from as many matches.
Abahani are only a step away from making it to the @theafcdotcom knockout stage for the first time ever as the turbo-charged BPL champion handed Nepal champion Manang a 5-0 thrashing at their home ground, Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka Wednesday.https://t.co/NRXfDXCgjR#AFC— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) June 19, 2019
Lemos said after Wednesday’s win, “It will be a tough game because Minerva have not lost a game and have five draws. They are a tough opponent but we got to finish the job. We are very happy to be in that position. If we can’t finish the job, it would be sad.
“From the first game I told my players we got to believe. It was far at the beginning but now we are here because we believed in ourselves. Now it’s right there and we need to grab it.”
Lemos talked about their highest margin of victory at home against Manang.
“We got lots of chances than any other game. I”m happy that we didn”t concede any goal and that is what I wanted. We also controlled the game. As I said before Manang can’t play same style on grass field. We pressed well, we created a lot of chances, maybe we could have scored eight goals but I”m happy with five.”
Player of the match, Sunday Chizoba, who scored one and assisted one, said, “Last time we played in the AFC Cup we went to Maldives and conceded five goals and we didn”t qualify. This year the team are much better. The coach put spirit in us, especially in me. The spirit to not allowing the opponent’s defenders to rest, always try and score. That”s why we did well in group stage and we are here now. I”m so much happy for Abahani to cross that level and still going.”