Laos hope to capitalize on home advantage

The coach of AFC Asian Cup minnows Laos has said his team hope to capitalise on home advantage in the first leg of their playoff match against India in Vientiane on Thursday.

Coach Valakone Phomphakdy said he hopes to make the country’s first ever match-up against India one to remember for the home fans, following a 1-1 draw with Nepal in a friendly on May 29.

Phomphakdy added that his side could pull off a huge upset as they have had ample time to prepare for their clash with India.

“Our friendly against Nepal was good. It helped us to test our strategy as to what we need to do against India. We have had some two weeks’ preparation for this match. Playing at home serves as an advantage,” Phomphakdy told reporters.

Laos hope the pace and trickery of teen wing sensation Maitee Sihalad will cause problems for India after a breakthrough season for Lao Toyota FC.

Phomphakdy also cited the recent AFC Cup tie between Lao Toyota and Bengaluru, which he said had provided several of his players with invaluable experience against Indian opposition.

“We have been mentally preparing ourselves as to what it means to win for your country,” he added.

Both teams had dismal runs in their World Cup qualifying campaigns, finishing bottom of their respective groups, but with just two wins from their last 18 games – one of those a forfeit win over Kuwait – it will be a tough task for Laos to overcome the Blue Tigers.

The second leg will take place in India on Tuesday.