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Next up for Svay Rieng in AFC Cup: Bali United

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
Bali United FC will be a ‘tough nut to crack’ for Cambodia’s PKR Svay Rieng FC. Facebook

Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng football club will face Bali United FC of Indonesia next in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2020 group stage.

The game between the two sides will be played at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on Feb 25. The match starts at 6pm.

PKR Svay Rieng FC will try to recover after a disappointing loss to Ceres-Negros FC of the Philippines in their group stage opener last week at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila. That game was marred by controversy over several non-calls in favour of the hosts.

Bali United FC, for its part, are coming off a masterful 4-1 win against Than Quang Ninh FC of Vietnam at the Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium in Bali.

Conor Nestor, head coach of PKR Svay Rieng FC, admitted that they are the underdogs, but he said it will not deter them from giving their best.

“They are a team with a budget 6 to 7 times our size, so the expectation is for them to beat us. Our strategy will be to outwork our opponent,” he explained.

Bali United FC are also the reigning champions of Liga 1, Indonesia’s top football league.

PKR Svay Rieng FC players, especially star forward Jean Befolo “Privat” Mbarga, are expected to give a better account of themselves this time after an uncharacteristically dismal performance in their first match of the group stage.

Mbarga, usually a prolific scorer from Cameroon, found himself stymied by a tough Ceres-Negros FC backline and did not register a single goal.

PKR Svay Rieng FC are also expected to rely on Cambodian forwards Prak Mony Udom and Nub Tola and attacking midfielders Thiago dos Santos of Brazil and Hoy Phallin of Cambodia. An A-game from the quartet will give the Cambodian side a fighting chance to score an upset against their heavily-favoured opponents.

Forwards Melvin Platje of the Netherlands and Muhammad Rahmat of Indonesia are expected to once again lead the attack for the Indonesian side. The duo scored three of their team’s four goals against Than Quang Ninh FC last week.

Forward Ilija Spasojević from Montenegro and Brazilian centre-back Willian Pacheco are also among the players to watch on the Indonesian side.

Bali United FC and Ceres-Negros FC are leading in Group G with one win each. The nine group winners plus the two best runners-up will advance to the next round of the continental championship.

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