AFC Cup: Club Valencia have it all to do in India

The South Zone AFC Cup playoff second leg clash between India's Mohun Bagan and Club Valencia from the Maldives will take place at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.

The match is a big one for both sides, after they drew 1-1 in the Maldives, with the winner getting a place in Group E of the AFC Cup where they will join India’s Bengaluru FC, Maziya Sports & Recreation of the Maldives and Bangladesh’s Abahani Ltd Dhaka, who have all already qualified for the group stage.  

In the first-leg match in Male, Club Valencia came from a goal down, scored by Daryll Duffy, to grab the equaliser in the 71st minute through Nigerian striker Godfrey West Omodu's penalty.

The home side go into Tuesdays match with the advantage of scoring an away goal and in the event of the match ending goalless, the unbeaten Mohun Bagan would go through.  

In the first-leg, Mohun coach Sanjoy Sen, rested six key players and did not travel with the side on the away leg but should field a strong side tomorrow including star playmaker Sony Norde who has recovered from a knee injury and is raring to go. 

Mohun will also be expecting forwards Balwant Singh, Darryl Duffy and Jeje Lalpekhlua to do the damage up front.

In an interview with media coach Sen said the match was a must-win situation for them and they would be going all out for the win.

"Definitely we will start from zero. This is a must-win situation for us. We will try to win handsomely," said Sen. "What I have heard is that we could have won by a number of goals but it didn't happen last time around. 

"I don't usually believe in rotation. I gave some of the players a rest. Within ten days we have to play four or five matches in the league, so I have to rest players," he added. 

Club Valencia head into this match very much the underdogs having only finished in sixth position on the eight-team 2016 Dhivehi Premier League table. 

They also were not expected to trouble the Indian side in the first-leg of the playoff match even though it was played in the Maldives and getting a draw was a great result for them. 

It’s very simple what the visiting Valencia must do and that is they will need to score to keep the tie alive so don’t expect them to sit back and defend for too long which could make this an exciting encounter if they score to lead at some stage.

The danger man in their side is Nigerian Omodu who will be expected to score to give them any hope in going through.

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