Preview: Group D
Yogyakarta: Boasting a star-filled lineup which includes Hossein Tayyebi and three-time AFC Player of the Year Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh, Mes Sungun Varzaghan are the team to beat in Group D of the 2018 AFC Futsal Club Championship.
“We are happy to be here and our preparations have gone well,” said head coach Hamid Bigham Tabrizi.
Mes Sungun Varzaghan will open their account against FC Sipar and Tabrizi is confident of winning against their Tajikistan opponents.
“Our team has done a good job tactically and technically and we look forward to playing our first match against FC Sipar.
“It is not going to be easy as we have not analysed Sipar in terms of strength but I believe we can produce the desired result."
Iranian clubs have a habit of making the semi-finals since the first edition in 2010 and have produced three different champions but Tabrizi was coy when asked about his team’s chances of winning the tournament.
“This is a tough group to be in and I respect all the teams. Yes on paper we are strong with many good players in our squad but we will take it slow and hope for the best.”
FC Sipar are tournament debutants but head coach Benyamin Eghbali is confident his side can pull off an upset against Mes Sungun Varzaghan.
“We had a good build-up and we are looking forward to playing the Iranian team.
“Mes Sungun Varzaghan have top players and it’s easy to be intimidated but our goal is to win the first match.”
Bank of Beirut, the 2015 and 2017 quarter-finalists, will be making their fourth appearance in the competition and head coach Dejan Dedovic says his team is primed to face AGMK of Uzbekistan.
“I’m looking forward to the match against AGMK tomorrow, they are tough opponents and we can’t take them lightly.
“History is on our side as no Lebanon team have lost a match against an Uzbekistan side, so we are aiming to continue the trend.
Dedovic was also confident of advancing to the last-eight stage.
“This year we are expecting better results and I hope we can advance further into the competition.”
AGMK FC will be making their debut and head coach Petrov Denis said his team will take a patient approach into the match against Bank of Beirut.
“We had a good training camp and have been preparing for the tournament since claiming the the Uzbekistan league title.
“I’m familiar with the competition’s expectations as I coached Uzbekistan teams before. I hope we are ready for the Lebanese team.”