Preview: Maziya v South China

South China will look to lift themselves from the foot of the Group G standings when they take on Maziya Sports & Recreation for the first time in the AFC Cup on Wednesday. 

South China, who reached the quarter-finals last year, have yet to win a single match in the 2016 edition as they were beaten 2-1 by Yangon United in their AFC Cup opener and 4-0 by Mohun Bagan last Wednesday.

Over the weekend, South China were held to a 1-1 draw by Wong Tai Sin and they currently sit in 3rd place on the Hong Kong Premier League standings.

With South China currently in the midst of a bad run, coach Ricardo Rambo admitted that his side’s chances of progressing to the next round of the AFC Cup will be further dented if they fail to secure three points against Maziya.

“This is an important match for us to move forward after losing our first two games and we know just how important it will be,” Rambo told the official AFC website. “Even though our opponents have some strong players, we’ve noticed some weak points as well.”

Meanwhile, Maziya have only fared slightly better than South China as they have managed to claim just one point from their two AFC Cup matches.

Maziya began their campaign with a 5-2 loss to Mohun before bouncing back to draw 1-1 with Yangon United. 

The Maldives side have not played any domestic fixtures since December, but despite this Maziya coach Ali Suzain believes that his side are well prepared for the match.

“We’ve prepared well and all the players are ready. This is really a knockout match for us if we want to progress in the tournament,” he said.

Heading into the match, South China will have to keep their eyes on forward Imaaz Ahmed, who scored against Mohun, and striker Ahmed Rasheed, who found the back of the net against Yangon.

Maziya meanwhile will have to watch out for South China forward Ryan Griffiths as he has scored the Hong Kong-based club’s only goal in the AFC Cup. 

Coverage of the match at the National Stadium in Male starts at 18:50pm HKT on FOX Sports 2.