Fatigued Felda will fight for first continental victory against Hanoi

Felda United host Hanoi FC on Tuesday in the AFC Cup and despite playing a fortune of football in recent weeks are hopeful of recording their first ever win in the competition.

Felda were edged 2-1 by Tampines Rovers at Jalan Besar Stadium in their opening fixture of this year’s AFC Cup while Hanoi FC, their opponents on Tuesday, drew 1-1 with Ceres.

It’s a must-win game for both teams.

Playing at home, Felda coach B. Sathianathan, is confident his team can emerge victorious. This is especially the case after they beat Sarawak FA 2-0 in the Malaysia Super League on the weekend and so ended an eight-game run in all competitions without a win.

He is anxious though of the physical state his players will be in, come kick-off, considering their busy schedule in recent weeks.

“My only concern is the recovery of the players,” Sathianathan said.

“We have been playing the last four matches with only three days of break in between them.

“The team are, however, getting better. The win over Sarawak is a needed boost, but we still need to work on a lot of things.

“It is a 16:45 (HKT) match and I fear the humidity could affect my team. I do not know much about Hanoi but being a team from Vietnam, I believe they will be playing with pace and intensity.

“I have many players carrying injuries. The problem is that we play our home games on an artificial pitch in Jengka. It takes longer for a player to recover from a game played on an artificial turf.”

Sathianathan has several players out with injuries. Defender Norfazly Alias, international striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, right-back Hasni Zaidi Jamian and defensive midfielder Stuart Wark are all unavailable.

However, Lucas Cano, Felda’s joint top scorer in the league this season, is available and the Argentine superstar will surely need to deliver the goods if Felda are to win.

Hanoi, who have not won a match since their 3-1 success over Ho Chi Minh City on January 22 in a V-League 1 encounter, will look to Moses Oloya to be their catalyst.