Sanna Khanh Hoa, Boeung Ket ready for battle in TMCC 2017 opener

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Sanna Khanh Hoa and Boeung Ket are both raring to go when the Toyota Mekong Club Championship 2017 gets underway at the Hang Day Stadium on Saturday.

V.League 1 outfit Sanna Khanh Hoa are the hosts for the first leg of the opening round tie, before the two sides meet again at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium with a semi-final clash against Lao Toyota up for grabs.

Boeung Ket are no strangers to this tournament, having finished as runners-up in 2015 and also reached the semi-finals last year, but 2017 marks Sanna Khanh Hoa’s TMCC debut.

Having seen fellow Vietnamese side Becamex Binh Duong go all the way to win it in the inaugural edition three years ago, Sanna Khanh Hoa coach Vo Dinh Tan reveals that the mood in the camp is one of excitement.

“Not only the staff but also the players and Sanna Khanh Hoa fans, we are very excited and honoured to play in this tournament,” he said at the pre-match press conference on Friday.

“This is our first time participating in an international tournament, so the players are very excited for the match.

“We’ve had a long V.League season and we are all very tired, but the majority of our team is made up of young players who recover faster.

“Hopefully, all of my players will be able to maintain their level of performance.

“We’ll be without [attacking midfielder] Lam Ti Phong but that is a small matter – we are confident for the game and we will fight not only for the club, but also for our country.”

For Boeung Ket, they will not only have to deal with being the away team in the unfamiliar cool conditions of Hanoi, but also have not had much time to prepare having only confirmed their qualification last weekend.

Nonetheless, star Brazilian striker Maycon Calijuri is optimistic they will be able to claim a positive result to bring back to Phnom Penh for the second leg.

“We have good players, we’re the number one team in the Cambodian League and I think we can win.

“Of course, every game is different and we haven’t had much time to prepare for Saturday’s match because the Cambodian League season hasn’t finished yet, and we’ve been playing many games.

“But I know we’ll do our best and hopefully we can return home with a good result.”

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