Quarter-final preview: Mes Sungun Varzaghan v FC EREM
Yogyakarta: Mes Sungun Varzaghan will be aiming to continue IR Iran’s proud record in the competition when they face FC EREM in the quarter-finals of the AFC Futsal Club Championship Indonesia 2018 on Wednesday.
Iranian clubs have regularly made the last four since 2010 and have produced three champions - Fooland Mahan (2010), Giti Pasand Isfahan (2012) and Tasisat Daryaei (2015).
Mes Sungun topped their group with a perfect record after defeating Lebanon's Bank of Beirut 3-1 on Monday but head coach Hamid Bigham Tabrizi is confident ahead of their clash against FC EREM.
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“We are confident of taking on the Kyrgyz Republic team (FC Erem) as we know this team after analysing them and I think there won't be a bad day for us,” said Tabrizi.
Bolstered by stars Hossein Tayyebi, who is the tournament joint-top scorer with seven goals, and three-time AFC Player of the Year Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh, Mes Sungun are a formidable force in the tournament.
The Iranians have scored the most goals in the competition with 21 goals, level with defending champions Bluewave Chonburi of Thailand.
FC EREM finished second in their group after holding off a second half fightback from Australian side Vic Vipers to win the tie 4-2 on Monday.
Almost half the Kyrgyz Republic squad are FC Erem players and the team have surpassed all expectations by qualifying for the Knockout Stage.
Head coach Daniaar Abdraimov admits the match against Mes Sungun will be the toughest for EREM and stressed that his side have achieved their initial target.
"Our initial target was qualification from the group. We play Mes Sungun on Wednesday and the game against them will be like an exam for us,” said Abdraimov.
“It will be a difficult match. Most importantly, we achieved our minimum target, we qualified.
“Congratulations to my team, to its management who provided us with the opportunity to play in the tournament. Thank you Indonesia!"
*Did you know?
*The 2016 edition was the only time an Iranian club failed to reach the last four when Nagoya Oceans edged Tasisat Daryaei 3-2 on penalties following a 2-2 draw.
FC EREM have achieved a milestone when the qualified for the quarter-finals. In 2017, FC EREM failed to make it past the group stage after settling for third.
Mes Sungun Varzaghan are making their tournament debut.