AFC Cup: Manang Marshyangdi vs Minerva Punjab Preview, Prediction, Venue Details
After three consecutive draws, former I-League champions Minerva Punjab will look to get their first AFC Cup win aboard when they face Nepal League side Manang Marshyangdi on May 15, Wednesday, at the ANFA Complex in Lalitpur, Nepal.
In their previous encounter, Minerva Punjab scuffed their lead twice in the game. Shreyas Gopalan put Minerva ahead early on but Manang Marshyangdi equalised in the second-half through Abhishek Rijal.
Minerva did manage to take the lead again through a spot-kick courtesy Kareem Omolaja but Oluwaunmi Somide scored seconds after to restore the parity.
Minerva have only three points in their kitty from as many games and they desperately need a win to keep their qualifications aspirations alive. Manang Marshyangdi also have been struggling, garnering a single point from their three games.
Both the teams are expected to go all out in order to stay alive in the competition.
Minerva Punjab vs Manang Marshyangdi: Match Information
Date: 15 May 2019
Kickoff: 2.45 PM IST
Live Stream: No official stream/telecast in India. Third party streams during the game will be available.
Venue: ANFA Complex, Lalitpur, Nepal
Minerva Punjab have all their players available and will be taking the field with full strength.
Bhaskar (GK), Akashdeep, Kareem, Robert, Souvik, Amandeep, Al Amna (C), Chothe, Harminder, Kalif, Samuel
(L-L-D-D-D) : Minerva last won a game on the 3rd of March, about two months ago. They lost to East Bengal and Chennai City in the final round of the I-League before drawing three consecutive games in the AFC Cup. They drew 0-0 in Ahmedabad with Indian Super League side Chennaiyin FC, drew 2-2 with both Dhaka Abahani and Manang Marshyangdi in the next set of games.
Minerva Punjab are able to take the lead early in the game but the lack of composure and consistency at the back are costing them goals. Minerva Punjab took the lead in both Dhaka and Bhubaneshwar but gave them up cheaply by the end of the contest.
The back four of the former I-League Champions need to chalk out new plans and strategies to be able to not concede straight after scoring.
The presence of Kareem at the back will be crucial to stop the menace of conceding goals in the later quarter of the game. He needs to sort out the defensive line-up at the back and lead the back four through the entirety of the game if Minerva wants to have a slight chance of catching up to their fellow compatriots Chennaiyin FC.
Needless to say, captain Mahmoud Al-Amna will be omnipotent in Minerva's proceedings as usual to hold up play, create chances and organise play on the wings. Al-Amna has to combine with talented midfielder Samuel Lalmuanpuia, who is on loan from Shillong Lajong, to trouble the Manang defence in regular intervals.
The Nepali side visited India to feature in the All India Sikkim Governor's Gold Cup, where they went all the way to clinch the coveted title after they edged Army Red 1-0 in an evenly contested Final in Gangtok before the AFC Cup assignment.
However, after such a successful Sikkim Gold Cup run, the Nepali side could not carry the momentum forward in the AFC Cup. They lost 0-1 at home to Dhaka Abahani and also went on to lose to Chennaiyin FC, away 2-0. Manang Marshyangdi earned their first points in Asia when they held Minerva Punjab to a 2-2 draw in Bhubaneshwar.
Manang Marshyangdi may not have big names on paper to get the better of the Warriors but the Nepali side does have the capability and composure to things get done on their day.
Minerva Punjab have not been at their top game for at least two months now and have failed to win a game in their last five official appearances. Manang Marshyangdi may look the weaker side of the two but the Nepali side can get things done on their day of reckoning.
An evenly poised game is expected to follow in the ANFA Complex with both sides probably ending all-square after 90 minutes.
Predicted Score: Manang Marshyangdi 1-1 Minerva Punjab