x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Matar among the doubts for Churchill Brothers showdown

Despite injury woes to the host side, the visiting coach admits with his 40 years of experience that they are up against a strong side.

ABU DHABI // Carlos Roberto Pereira, the coach of Churchill Brothers, says his players will need to be at their best if they want to create a piece of history by becoming the first Indian club to qualify for the group stage of the Asian Champions League. Pereira's Indian team face a daunting task when they take on Al Wahda in a play-off at the Al Nahyan Stadium (KO 7pm) tonight for a place in the group stage of the Asian showpiece event.

"I have been in this job for more than 40 years and have to be realistic of our chances," said the Brazilian. "We will require more than 100 per cent from our players and sometimes it is possible to beat the best team. It's 11 against 11 on the pitch and I have told my players to go out there and do the best. I have watched Wahda's last two games and they are a very strong side." Josef Hickersberger, the Wahda coach, is still sweating over the fitness of several players who were hurt in the bruising 2-1 away win over Al Ahli in the Pro League on Wednesday. "We are going into this match after a hard match with Ahli," said the Austrian. "I am still counting how many fit players I have. I won't be able to name my line-up until the morning because I wouldn't know how many would be fit to play. It is a bit of a worry at the moment. We have several players recovering from the bruises and blows they received in the last game, including Ismail Matar, Abdulraheem Jumaa, and the Brazilians, Pinga and Magrao."

Meanwhile, Wahda are provided with a great opportunity on Wednesday to draw level with the Al Jazira, the league leaders who were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Al Dhafra yesterday. Wahda are three points behind the leaders with a home game in hand against Ajman. @Email:apassela@thenational.ae Al Wahda v Churchill Brothers, 7pm, Abu Dhabi Sports 1