Calcutta: East Bengal coach Marcos Falopa said Semen Padang would go into the return leg of the AFC Cup quarter final at Padang as firm favourites.
“It will be a tough battle for us… Although we are leading 1-0, we are the underdogs. There’s no doubt about it… Semen Padang will enjoy the benefits of home conditions. But we are prepared for it and will make an all out effort to enter the semi-final.
“We have mainly concentrated on preparing specific plans that we hope would be useful in the match… It will be a tactical battle and so we need to be prepared with our tactics,” he said from Padang.
Falopa feels weather will not be an issue. “It’s a 3 pm kick-off and we have to adjust to that... However, that will not be an issue… That’s what I feel.”
Falopa said he has spoken to the players about the difficulties of playing an away game. “An away match is never easy and there are various situations that the players have to deal with. Padang’s supporters will obviously make it more difficult for us.
“We will have to be ready to give our best even in that situation. We have to be calm and keep the shape in tact. Maintaining shape is very important,” he said.
“Tactically, we will try to play a balanced game… We will not be too defensive just because we had won the first leg and need just a draw to advance.
“I would want my boys to balance defence and attack. It’s not easy to do that… We will have to work hard on the pitch… That’s the only way we can win the match.”
The Brazilian said the return of Argentine playmaker Esteban Gabriel Vizcara and central defender Wahyu Wijiastanto will definitely boost the home side.
“They will also be strengthened by the return of Esteban. They also have some good players in Wilson and Ellie Aiboy. We have to be very alert on Tuesday. One mistake and they will punish us,” Falopa added.
Alvito D’Cunha, the man who was there when East Bengal made it to the quarters way back in 2004, said it would be test of guts and gumption on Tuesday. “
Falopa, a senior club official said, let his seniors do the talking at the dinner table.
“Playing in the AFC Cup semifinals is a lifetime achievement. We must not let this opportunity go,” was captain Mehtab Hussain’s pep-talk.
“We have come here on the back of our hard work and determination. And we are 90 minutes away from embracing history. Let’s be united for this common purpose,” Uga Okpara said.