Hong Kong side South China take on Maldives outfit Maziya Sports & Recreation in an AFC Cup clash on Wednesday.
South China and Maziya desperately need to win to keep their respective campaigns alive as after three matches in Group G, South China are at the bottom of the table with no points to show for their efforts as they have lost all three of their matches to date.
Maziya meanwhile are in third place on four points, level with Myanmar’s Yangon United but some way behind group leaders Mohun Bagan, who are on nine points.
In their most recent head-to-head encounter, which took place at the Rasmee Dhandu Stadium on Match Day three, Maziya ran out 2-1 winners, with Cheung Kin Fung’s second half own goal ultimately proving the difference between the sides.
Neither South China nor Maziya go into Wednesday’s encounter at Mong Kok Stadium in particularly great form.
José Ricardo Rambo’s outfit are in third place on the Hong Kong Premier League table, five points behind second placed Kitchee and nine behind pace-setters Eastern. Furthermore, they were thrashed 3-0 by Kitchee in the League Cup final on Saturday.
Rambo acknowledged that his side haven’t been at their best as of late, but is now hoping that they can turn their fortunes around against Maziya.
“It is an important game for us tomorrow night and the players know that,” said Rambo.
“We need to fight and try to qualify for the next round. Hopefully, we can put up a good performance for our supporters.”
Maziya are in a similar situation domestically as they lie in fourth place in the Dhivehi Premier League, 12 points behind leaders New Radiant.
As for his side’s chances on Wednesday, coach Ali Suzain was bullish.
“We want to qualify for the next round and that means we need to pick up either one point or three points from the game,” he said.
“I think we have a good chance of getting something out of the game.”
If South China are going to triumph over Maziya, they desperately need striker Mahama Awal to rediscover his form. The Cameroonian scored five goals in last year’s competition but so far has yet to find the back of the net this time around.
The 24-year-old has scored seven times and notched up five assists in 16 appearances domestically, though, and is perhaps due for an up-turn in form in his side’s AFC Cup campaign.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Rasheed has already scored twice in this year’s competition and the 27-year-old Maldivian midfielder is likely to be at the centre of the action for his side once more.
South China and Maziya will go up against each other at 19:50 HKT on FOX SPORTS 2.