East Bengal take on Semen Padang in the return-leg of their AFC Cup quarterfinal here on Tuesday knowing that a draw would fetch them a maiden semifinal berth in the tournament.
East Bengal coach Marcos Falopa said at the pre-match media conference that although they are leading 1-0, they are the underdogs. Under their new Brazilian coach, East Bengal are far from being the finished article. Against opponents who looked more organised, especially in the midfield, they needed a moment of brilliance from Ryuji Sueoka to win at home. And East Bengal’s problems have been compounded by the injury to central midfielder Cavin Lobo who had laid it up for Suoeka.
In Padang since Saturday morning, East Bengal have had two training sessions, the one on Monday lasting 90 minutes. “We have prepared for it and will make all efforts to make it to the semi-final,” said Falopa.
Falopa though will have to solve the central midfield problem. He has already said Suoeka would start but the Japanese could partner skipper Mehtab Hossain in central midfield or be used as a wide midfielder.