Preview: Sheikh Jamal v Tampines Rovers

There is plenty on the line as Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi host Tampines Rovers in an important Group E encounter in the AFC Cup on Tuesday.

The clubs feature in one of the most highly competitive groups in the competition with just one point separating the top three.

Unfortunately for the hosts, they have had an appalling run in the AFC Cup in 2016 and are still looking for their first point of the season after losing all four games, the most recent a 2-1 defeat away to Selangor.

That result in Malaysia led to their elimination from the competition, so the Bangladeshi club will have nothing but pride to play for on Tuesday.

“The reality is we had a lot of dreams, but we could not fulfill those dreams due to lots of reasons like shortage of players and injuries,” said Sheikh Jamal coach Shafiqul Islam Manik.

“Despite the fact that we lost the first match against Tampines 4-0, we had some chances. If I get my players ready tomorrow, I am still hoping for something good.

“The AFC Cup is a big tournament. But for such a big tournament, we have not had the kind of preparation or condition that was required. However, if the players perform on the day, anything is possible.”

Meanwhile, Tampines Rovers’ fine start to the competition – where they netted five goals in two wins – slowed down with a 1-1 draw at home to Ceres before coming to a grinding halt with a 2-1 loss in the return match.

The Singapore outfit will be eager get their campaign back on track by earning the full compliment of points at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.

Tampines Rovers have had a fairly decent run domestically, with four wins out of their last five games helping them to up to second place on the S League table, three points behind Albirex Niigata S.

Despite Sheikh Jamal’s poor form, Rovers coach V. Sundramoorthy is not taking anything for granted on Tuesday.

“We are looking forward to the match tomorrow,” said Sundramoorthy.

“I’ve been watching the games of Sheikh Jamal…they’ve been doing well in the AFC Cup and giving every team a hard time.

“I watched their last two games against Selangor. It was tough for Selangor to get the points. And I think it will be tough for us tomorrow to get the points, too.”

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