EB wants to end bad patch with Sana

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{image-east bengal_17032008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Kolkata, Mar 17: East Bengal will go full throttle when they take on Yemen's Ahli Sana in their second tie of the AFC Cup here tomorrow.

AFC Cup matches are played on a home and away basis. India are in Group B with teams from Lebanon, Yeman and Jordan.The red-golds lost their first tie despite a valiant performance to Safa club from Beirut 1-0 in an away match. In contrast Sana comes with a home draw with Al Wihdat of Jordan.So both clubs will go for full three points when they meet tomorrow.

The onus is on East Bengal coach Alok Mukherjee to prove that the premier club from India plays out of their skin when it comes to the foreign clubs.

East Bengal has previously once reached the quarter-final stage way back in the 80s and the team hopes to get inspired from the history.

Talking to UNI, Alok said, '' I want the team to be inspired from the past. They are playing good soccer. It's just that they have not been able to translate their supremacy into goals, which matters the most. '' The good news for East Bengal is that both Mehtab Hossain and Edmilson, suffering from injuries, have been declared fit for the tie. While Mehtab can prove to be an asset as a provider in the mid-field, Edmilson's goal-poaching qualities will be needed as the red-golds look for a turnaround after a series of below par performances.

He continued, '' I really hope the players will get on to the ground with their scoring-boots on. '' Asked about the combination, he said, '' I would like to keep that a secret. I have seen them (Sana) a little. They play fast one-touch game and have at least seven national team players in their first eleven. So they will be a tough opponent. '' '' All I can say now is that we could play 5-3-2 format in the beginning and then move on to 4-4-2 depending on the conditions, '' he added.

The coach, however, indicated that while Rahim Nabi could continue to play as a forward with Edmilson, Ikebe Gift will play in the hole behind the attacking line after Ghanaian striker Abeeku Gaisie's registration could not be done on time. The Yemen club comes with quite a formidable reputation having reached the semi-final of the Cup twice.

Their strikers Alial Nono and Al Adil Salami have their reputation preceding them as two of the finest predators of the middle-east. Ebrahim Hasan is also a fine striker.

Coach Sabah Jumah, the former Iraqi Youth National Team coach, told UNI, '' East bengal is a good side and they play good football.

We have seen them play against Lebanon side and thought they could draw. They have good Brazilian player (Marquis Edmilson)and two other. '' Asked about his team, he said, '' We will go for a win. We have good combination of players from both youth and senior side. And we hope to do well. We have played only 12 matches so far in the season and so the players are fresh and combining well as an unit. '' The coach said the side he brought here was the same as that played Wihdat but added that they would play a different game tactically as they were surprised with East Bengal's football.

The team has as many as seven players from the national side, including their captain and goalkeeper Manaud Abdul Kaalij and playmaker Almari Fuad.

The coach sounded a bit worried about their most potent striker Alial Nono's groin injury, but said he would come in as a substitute at some point of the game.

Manaud said, '' We are a young side with enough experience and hope to do well. We will surely play for three points tomorrow. I am the captain and the last line of defence, so I have the extra responsibility. I like to guide the team from my position. '' Alvito D'cunha said, '' We have played against Dempo in Gurgaon.

And it was only our poor luck that we lost. We had Dempo on the mat.

Tomorrow we don't want to repeat that. We want to score. The players had rest and are fit and are willing to give their 100 per cent. '' UNI BA

UNI

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