Boeung Ket’s Chan Vathanaka (left) vies with Balkan’s Bahtiyar Hojaahmedov in their AFC President’s Cup game. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post
The equation is as simple as three words for Boeung Ket Rubber Football Club: all or nothing.
That in a nutshell is the grim prospect facing the Cambodian Metfone C-League champions when they take on well-heeled Palestine team Hilal Al-Quds in the last Group C game of the 2013 AFC President’s Cup at the Olympic Stadium today.
The game between Balkan and Sri Lankan Army at 1pm is purely of academic interest since the Turkmenistan giants have already clinched a qualifying spot, having won back-to-back games against Al-Quds and Boeung Ket.
Any outcome other than a victory for Boeung Ket would ensure a safe passage into September’s final stage of the competition to the West Bank champions, who currently enjoy a far better goal difference than their Cambodian rivals thanks to the 10-0 drubbing of Sri Lankan Army and a squeaky 2-3 defeat at the hands of Balkan.
Al-Quds’s coach Raed Assaf is quite insistent that the focus of his team would be on winning, though it is a comforting thought that a draw wouldn’t really hurt.
The Jerusalem-based side would again be counting on the attacking trio of Roberto Kettlun, Maen Obaid and Adham Aburawees, all of whom are among the goals in the last two games.
Al-Quds are likely to adopt the strategy of containment that worked quite well against Balkan to deal with Boeung Ket’s attacking formations. The fact that the Palestinians could be as physical as the Turkmen is not lost on Boeung Ket’s coach Prak Vuthy.
“It is going to be tough but we are determined to deal with it,” the coach told a post-match news conference after his team’s 2-0 loss to Balkan on Wednesday.
Balkan effectively curtailed Boeung Ket’s midfield mobility and reined in Chan Vathanaka well enough, and Al-Quds, with physical attributes to match those of
Balkan’s, could employ similar tactics.
Prak Vuthy conceded that a must-win situation could put extra pressure on his players, and the best way to handle it would be for them to play their natural game and make good the chances that come their way.