Aidil’s Protectors refusing to grant Phnom Penh an AFC Cup miracle

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Home United coach Aidil Sharin says his players are ready for a fight when they attempt to protect a 4-3 lead against Phnom Penh Crown in Tuesday evening's second leg of the AFC Cup playoffs. 

With Phnom Penh conceding four away goals in the first leg, they will almost certainly have to beat Home at Jalan Besar Stadium by two goals or risk elimination from the competition.

While the Protectors are in the driving seat and only need to play for a draw to qualify for the AFC Cup and enter Group H alongside Yadanarbon and Than Quang Ninh, Aidil has asserted the team will not be sitting back.

“It’s a home game, we want to win. Preparations have been good so far and the boys are looking forward to the game,” Aidil said at the pre-match press conference.

“The game is still 0-0 (from our perspective), I believe we are not going to sit back and defend for 0-0 — we want to play good football in our home game and the boys are ready for it.”

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Home will only have a slender lead on Tuesday evening

Phnom Penh coach Sam Schweingruber was aware of the arduous task his side faced, so much so that he labelled achieving a victory as akin to attaining a miracle.

“It is usually more difficult to win away from home, it is a challenge,” Schweingruber said.

“We respect our opponents as they showed some great quality but we do believe we have a chance.

So we will do whatever we can to have a miracle and get a win

- Sam Schweingruber

“So we will do whatever we can to have a miracle and get a win.”

Schweingruber also believed his side was on par with the Protectors, especially after it threatened to nick a point off Home in the first leg at RSN Stadium.

The Protectors were cruising to victory with a 3-1 lead but the Cambodian side struck back through Keo Sokngon and Shane Booysen to ensure Tuesday’s tie was still wide open.

“We were expecting (Home) to be even stronger so we feel a little bit more hopeful,” Schweingruber said.

“We do notice a few players in the opponents, but we have also seen a few areas where the opponents are not as strong as we expected, so if we do well in those areas we can go ahead and spring a surprise.”

Photos: Phnom Penh Crown