Quarter-final preview: Bluewave Chonburi v Bank of Beirut
Yogyakarta: Defending champions Bluewave Chonburi will not underestimate Bank of Beirut when the two sides meet in the quarter-finals of the AFC Futsal Club Championship Indonesia 2018 on Wednesday.
Bluewave remain unbeaten in the competition and boast a prolific scoring record of 21 goals, equalling Islamic Republic of Iran’s Mes Sungun Varzaghan in the group stage.
Despite being powered by established players Kristada Wongkaeo, Suphawut Thueanklang and Jirawat Sornwichian, head coach Rakphol Sainetngamwas is aware of the dangers in facing a strong side like Beirut in the quarter-finals.
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“Bank of Beirut are a very strong Lebanese team with strong foreign players. It will be a tough match, but my players are ready to face them,” said Sainetngamwas.
“I have fielded some younger players throughout the tournament. They have done well but can still improve. We know there is added pressure on us after winning last year’s tournament but we are on the right track and I feel our team is up for the challenge."
Bank of Beirut head coach Dejan Dedovic, however, is equally confident of beating Bluewave.
Beirut won their first two matches against Uzbekistan’s AGMK (4-1) and Tajikistan’s FC Sipar (11-2) but suffered a blip against Mes Sungun Varzaghan, losing 3-1 to finish second in the group.
The Lebanese club will pin their hopes on tournament joint-top scorer Mahdi Javid, who has scored seven goals, to better their best achievement in the Continental club competition when they reached the quarter-finals in 2015 and 2017.
“Lebanon have beaten them (Thailand) before in Chinese Taipei at the AFC Futsal Championship this year, so I don’t why we can’t repeat the feat here,” said Dedovic.
“We can’t simply say we are going to win but to be the best, you have to beat the champions.”
Did you know?
In head-to-head meetings, Bluewave Chonburi have beaten Bank of Beirut twice in 2017 and 2014.
Bluewave defeated Beirut 9-0 at Ho Chi Minh City last and 4-0 in Chengdu 2014 - both in the group stages.