AFC CUP: Irfan wants his charges to strut their stuffSELANGOR will deploy just one strategy against New Radiant in their AFC Cup second round encounter at the Galolhu National Stadium in Male, Maldives, today.
Putting aside dismal performances of late in the Malaysian Super League, coach Irfan Bakti has instructed his frontline to bombard the Maldivian champions with attacks from the first whistle in their bid to slip into the quarter-finals.
"We travelled 3,000 kilometres to be here to fly the Malaysian flag. There is just one knockout match, no return leg, so we have come here to win," said Irfan.
"Sure, our form hasn't been good in the domestic scene. We lost to Johor Darul Takzim before we raised our game to beat Tampines Rovers (of Singapore) in the final AFC Cup group match to make it to this stage.
"The players managed to raise their game because they realised we were representing the country," said Irfan in the pre-match press conference at the Galolhu Stadium yesterday.
Compared to Selangor who have only managed draws against Negri Sembilan (0-0), Lions XII (0-0), Pahang (2-2) and Perak (1-1) in their last four Super League matches, New Radiant have been on top form.
New Radiant have wrapped up four straight wins, 5-0 against Valencia, 3-0 against AYL, 4-0 against Eagles and 4-2 against Maziya Sports in their last four matches to top the Dhivehi League.
"New Radiant have six or seven Maldives internationals and we have to contend with their pace, particularly on the flanks," said Irfan.
"We will field our best starting 11, including three of our imports and I'm confident they will be able to make significant contributions."
Meanwhile, New Radiant's Bulgarian coach Velizar Popov demanded that his charges maintained full concentration throughout the match because a single goal could seal the fate of either team.
"We face a daunting challenge because Selangor are very serious about this match and they have a solid squad based on their performance against Perak and East Bengal, which I managed to watch videos of," said Popov. "We respect them, but we should not be afraid."
Read more: Selangor ready to bombard Radiant - Soccer - New Straits Times