Maziya Sports & Recreation face Group G pace setters Mohun Bagan in a must win game in the AFC Cup on Wednesday.
Mohun Bagan sit at the summit of the standings with 10 points, while Yangon United are second with five points. Maziya follow with four points and South China lurk dangerously in fourth with three points.
When the two teams met back on February 24, it was Mohun Bagan who came out on top after securing an emphatic 5-2 victory.
That result proved to be the foil for what has thus far been a highly impressive continental campaign for the Indian outfit. They are yet to lose in Asia, with their worst result being a 1-1 draw against Yangon United in their last outing.
Domestically, they crushed I-League leaders Bengaluru FC 5-0 on Saturday, but they still remain two points behind them on the standings.
A win over Maziya will see Mohun Bagan qualify for the round of 16 and coach Sanjoy Sen is eager for his side to accomplish the feat on Wednesday.
— Mohun Bagan (@Mohun_BaganAC) April 26, 2016
“We need to win this match to confirm a place in the second round as the winner of the group so it is an important game for us,” he told the official AFC website. “It will not be an easy game for us – it will be an interesting match as Maziya will fight to get a place in the second round, but we want to win as well.”
Whilst currently inactive domestically, Maziya have suffered greatly from their own inconsistency in Asia. After the aforementioned defeat to Mohun Bagan in their AFC Cup opener, they drew 1-1 with Yangon United, triumphed 2-1 over South China and then slumped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to the Hong Kong-based club just as it looked like they had built up some momentum.
With so much on the line for Maziya, coach Ali Suzain wants them to do whatever it takes to win and boost their chances of progressing to the last 16.
“Our main target is to win this match, we are not looking to the positives and negatives of the opposition team,” he said. “Our hopes for qualifying for the second round depend on this match. We didn’t play a competitive game before our first game against Mohun Bagan, but now we have played a few and have a positive attitude.”
For Mohun Bagan keep your eyes peeled to Jeje Lalpekhlua who has five goals in the AFC Cup to his name this year. For Maziya, striker Ahmed Rasheed has been mightily effective and has found the back of the net twice in the competition.
Maziya and Mohun Bagan will go up against each other at the National Stadium in Male at 18:45 HKT on FOX Sports 2.