Six-time Bangladesh Premier League Football champions Dhaka Abahani Limited is ready to play April 25 Sports Club (4.25) of North Korea in an away match of the inter-zonal semifinal of the AFC Cup 2019 at the Kim-ll-Sung Stadium in Pyongyang on Wednesday.
The match will kick-off at 3 pm Bangladesh Standard time.
Abahani, who won the home match in Dhaka on August 21, only need a draw in the away match to reach the inter-zonal finals for the first time.
A 32-member Dhaka Abahani Limited team reached North Korean capital Pyongyang on Monday to play their away match.
On the eve of the match, Head Coach of Dhaka Abahani Limited Mario Lemos said, “The next match will be the toughest one. April 25 is a very good team. They displayed their brilliance in Dhaka, and remained unbeaten at home in the tournament as well”.
“Our confidence and morale is now very high after the win in Dhaka, We know the match will be a tough one, but we want to reach the (Inter-Zone) final with a good result in Pyongyang,” he added.
Abahani will get services of their key players - Nigerian striker Sunday Chizoba, Egyptian defender Alaaeldin Nasr Elsayed Eissa and local Mamunul Islam Mamun in the Wednesdays’ match.
Alaaeldin Nasr Elsayed Eissa who was facing visa complications ahead of the away match finally joined the team on Sunday in China while former national skipper Mamunul Islam Mamun will also recover from injury to play the away match.
“We are hoping that Mamunul Islam will play in the match and Eissa will also be coming back from suspension and that will make a good impact on the line-up,” said the Portuguese coach.
After being asked about their game plan, Lemos said that “We will make tactical changes and will not take too many risks. We have realized that we can't win by defending, we also want to make counter-attacks.”
Earlier, Bangladesh Premier League Football champions Abahani sealed their place in the knockout phase for the first time after topping the four-team Group E securing 13 points from 6 matches with four wins and a draw and defeat each.
On the other hand, DPR Korea League champions April 25 SC reached in the knockout phase of AFC Cup as Group I champions securing 15 points from 6 matches with five wins and one defeat.