Six-time Bangladesh Premier League Football champions Dhaka Abahani Limited will face off against April 25 SC (4.25) of North Korea in their home match of the knockout phase of AFC Cup 2019 today.
The match will kick-off at 6:45pm (BST) at Bangabandhu National Stadium in the capital.The popular Dhanmomdi-based outfit reached home and away basis knockout phase for the first time as the champions of four-team Group E securing 13 points from six matches with four wins, one draw and one defeat.
In the home and away basis group stage, Dhaka Abahani beat Manang Marshyangdi Club of Nepal by 1-0 goal in Kathmandu on April 3 and played to 2-2 draw with Minerva Punjab of India in their second match in Dhaka on April 17.
Abahani conceded the lone defeat to Chennaiyin FC of India by 0-1 goals in their third match in Ahmedabad on April 30.
To keep their hope for becoming the Group E champions alive, the Sky Blue Brigade defeated Chennaiyin by 3-2 goals in their fourth match on June 15 and crushed Manang by 5-0 goals in their fifth match on June 19, both in Dhaka.
In the last and sixth group match, they beat Minerva by 1-0 goal in Guwahati on June 26.
On the other hand, DPR Korea League champions April 25 SC reached for the third time in knockout phase of AFC Cup as Group I champions securing 15 points from six matches with five wins and one defeat.April 25 started their campaign beating Taiwanese club Hang Yuen FC by 3-0 goals in Hsinchu, Taiwan on April 3, beat Hong Kong-based Kitchee SC by 2-0 goals in their second match in Pyongyang on April 17 and another Hong Kong-based clubs Wofoo Tai Po by 3-1 goals in their third match in Hong Kong on April 30.
The DPR Korea League champions continued their winning streak beating Wofoo Tai Po by 4-0 goals on May 15 and crushing Hang Yuen FC by 5-0 goals on June 19, both in Pyongyang.
April 25 SC conceded their lone defeat to Kitchee by 0-1 goal in their last and sixth match in Hong Kong on June 26.
Abahani got few blows as their two players – Alaaeldin Nasr Elsayed Eissa and Mamunul Islam – are going to miss the Wednesday’s match.
New foreign recruit Egyptian defender Alaaeldin Nasr Elsayed Eissa, who played for Maldivian TC Sports Club in AFC Cup 2018, got two yellow cards during their last match of the competition against Bengaluru FC of India on February 20.
In their group matches, Abahani scored 12 goals and conceded 5 while April 25 scored 17 and conceded 2 goals. Dhaka Abahani captain Sahidul Alam Sohel said, “We’ve taken good preparation. I think we can win the match.”
On the other hand, April 25 SC head coach O Yun Son said that they will give their best in tomorrow’s match.
“Every game is important for us. We don’t have any idea about Abhani. But, we’ll give our best tomorrow,” he said.